California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s choice of Assemblyman Rob Bonta as lawyer common was an inevitable results of identification politics.
Given California’s present political local weather, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s choice of Assemblyman Rob Bonta to be lawyer common was just about preordained.
Newsom ardently embraces the identification politics that dominate his Democratic Get together and subsequently feels compelled to pay homage to its main ethnic, gender and cultural elements by way of appointments.
Thus, when Newsom made his first state Supreme Court docket appointment final yr, he proudly declared that retired appellate courtroom justice Martin Jenkins “could be the primary overtly homosexual California Supreme Court docket justice and solely the third African American man ever to serve on the state’s highest courtroom.”
Only a month later, California Sen. Kamala Harris, who identifies each as Black and Asian-American, was elected vp, giving Newsom one other shot at a high-level appointment.
Newsom was beneath stress to nominate a successor who represented at the least one in all her three identities, however selected, as a substitute, a male Latino, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, whereas concurrently naming a Black lady, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, as Padilla’s successor.
Newsom hailed them as “California’s first Latino U.S. Senator (and) the first-ever African American secretary of state.”
With Weber, Newsom was clearly compensating for not naming a Black lady to succeed Harris, however he was giving her an workplace a number of notches under a seat within the U.S. Senate. Due to this fact, because the marketing campaign to recall him heated up, Newsom sought to fend off any residual disappointment amongst Black leaders by publicly promising to decide on a Black lady to switch Sen. Dianne Feinstein ought to she retire earlier than her time period expires three years therefore.
All of these appointments — and the promise vis-à-vis Feinstein’s seat — left one main group, Asian-People, nonetheless ready for its due within the sophisticated machinations of identification politics. When, subsequently, Legal professional Basic Xavier Becerra was tapped by President Joe Biden to turn out to be well being and welfare secretary, Newsom was just about compelled to call an Asian-American successor — much more so in response to the latest spate of anti-Asian violence.
By selecting Bonta, who was born within the Philippines and as a toddler got here to California along with his dad and mom, Newsom closed the circle of identification appointments and ensured that all the main teams would stay loyal in the course of the ensuing recall marketing campaign.
Bonta, in actual fact, is a two-fer appointment in that he additionally identifies with probably the most liberal, or progressive, wing of the Democratic Get together and thus could placate its activists who typically fault Newsom for transferring leftward too slowly.
Past identification politics, Bonta’s ideological positioning is an important facet of his choice, as a result of it offers an enormous increase to these in search of to overtake California’s prison justice system to make it much less punitive and extra restorative. Bonta has championed the trigger within the Legislature, together with landmark laws to abolish money bail that was overturned by voters final yr.
“Too many Californians have confronted unfairness within the many damaged elements of our prison justice system,” Bonta stated, “and so they deserve extra compassion, extra humanity and a second likelihood.”
Bonta might be aligned with a small cadre of reform-minded prosecutors, led by George Gascón, who had been district lawyer of San Francisco earlier than defeating Los Angeles District Legal professional Jackie Lacey final yr.
Gascón and several other different like-minded district attorneys based their very own group, the Prosecutors Alliance of California, that’s waging open warfare with the California District Attorneys Affiliation. Pointedly, the brand new group praised Bonta as “a frontrunner that has devoted his profession to defending and uplifting weak communities.”