Yesterday California Gov. Gavin Newsom nominated Justice Martin Jenkins for the California Supreme Court.
The nomination comes following the retirement of Associate Justice Ming W. Chin. Should the nomination be confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, Jenkins will be the first openly gay and third ever African American man to serve on the court. The California Supreme Court has not had an African American man on it bench in nearly 30 years.
“My identity has been, as a gay man, perhaps the greatest challenge of my life,” Jenkins said. “I want these young people to know that living a life of authenticity is the greatest gift you can give yourself.”
The democrat justice has served as Newsom’s Judicial Appointments secretary since January 2019. Through his appointment of 45 jurists, Jenkins has worked to build a diverse judiciary reflective of California. “Justice Jenkins is widely respected among lawyers and jurists, active in his Oakland community and his faith and is a decent man to his core,” Newsom said.
"I am not here in spite of the struggle; I am here because of the struggle."
Moving words by Justice Martin Jenkins.
Today, I was honored to nominate him to California’s highest court. He will be the first openly gay person to serve. pic.twitter.com/ODm3HFByPB
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 6, 2020
Jenkins has spent most of his life in the Bay Area, except for his stint as a Seattle Seahawk. As a professional football player, Jenkins realized his true calling was law. He attended the University of San Francisco School of Law and graduated in 1980. Early in his career, Jenkins pursued cases involving police misconduct and cross burnings and promoted gender equality though cases on pregnancy-related leave and sex discrimination.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be asked by the governor to continue serving the people of California on the Supreme Court,” Jenkins said. “If confirmed, I will serve with the highest ethical standards that have guided me throughout my career, informed by the law and what I understand to be fair and just.”