News Release

Justice Martin J. Jenkins Confirmed to California Supreme Court

Oct 13, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO—The Commission on Judicial Appointments scheduled a public hearing for Nov. 10 beginning at 1 p.m. in the Supreme Court Courtroom—350 McAllister Street in San Francisco—to consider the nomination by Governor Gavin Newsom of Justice Martin J. Jenkins (Ret.) to the Supreme Court of California.

Seating in the courtroom will be limitedwith some overflow seating also available in the auditoriumand mask requirements enforced to comply with state and local health directives. The hearing will be webcast live on the California Courts Newsroom.

The state Constitution specifies that a gubernatorial appointment to the Supreme Court is effective when confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.

The commission members who will consider the appointment are Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye (Chair), California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and senior Presiding Justice of the state Court of Appeal J. Anthony Kline.

Appointee Summary Biography

Justice Martin Jenkins (Ret.) would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Ming Chin on Aug. 31, 2020. He would be the first openly gay California Supreme Court justice and only the third African American man ever to serve on the state’s highest court.

Justice Jenkins has held several prominent state and federal judicial positions throughout his career, his most recent role as the Governor’s judicial appointments secretary. In that role, he spearheaded transparency efforts by making public the Regional Judicial Selection Advisory Committees, so that for the first time in California history, the individuals who provide feedback on judicial candidates for nomination and appointment will be known to the public. Justice Jenkins has worked closely with these committees and the Governor to build a judiciary that reflects the people they serve, appointing a diverse group of 45 jurists that will help shape the California judiciary for years to come.

Prior to his role in the Newsom administration, Justice Jenkins served as an associate justice on the First District Court of Appeal from 2008 to 2019. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in 1997 and served on that bench until 2008.

Justice Jenkins served as a judge on the Alameda County Superior Court (1992-1997) and on the Oakland Municipal Court (1989-1992). From 1986 to 1989, he was a trial attorney with the Pacific Bell Legal Department of San Francisco and from 1983 to 1986, he worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney litigating civil rights cases. From 1980 to 1983, he worked as a prosecutor for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

Justice Jenkins earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Testimony and Comment

Persons who wish to testify or comment on the appointment must submit their information for receipt by the commission no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 3. Anyone wishing to testify before the commission must state that request in writing and include a summary of the facts on which any testimony or opinion will be based.

Due to current health conditions, submissions via email to are strongly encouraged. Hard copies are not required.

If you would like to mail your request, you may also reach the commission at:

Commission on Judicial Appointments
c/o Chief Justice of California
Supreme Court of California
350 McAllister Street
San Francisco, California 94102
Attention: Secretary to the Commission

Guidelines for the Commission on Judicial Appointments are published in the appendix to the California Rules of Court and are posted on the California Courts website.