Written by Justin Culetu
In light of Xavier Beccera’s confirmation as Health and Human Services Secretary for the Biden Administration, Governor Newsom has appointed Rob Bonta as his pick for the normally elected attorney general position. This will be Newsom’s third appointment opportunity following the 2020 election.
Bonta, Alameda County’s Democratic Assemblyman, will be the first Filipino American to hold the position if confirmed, as Newsom continues to implement identity politics in his appointments to diversify the State’s government.
By picking Bonta, Gov. Newsom is preparing California to take a significantly more progressive approach to criminal justice, as the Assemblyman developed a record as one of the most liberal members in his eight years working in the Legislature.
As a lawmaker, Bonta was significantly soft on crime, writing bills favoring the marijuana industry, illegal immigrants, and even attempted to abolish cash bail. Bonta also wrote a bill that Newsom signed into law in which the state attorney general will be given the task to investigate police shootings of unarmed civilians.
Facing a likely recall election, Newsom is looking to win over progressive voters by nominating Bonta, with multiple civil rights activists including Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and CNN personality Van Jones endorsing Newsom’s decision. Several progressive interest groups, including powerful labor unions, plaintiffs attorneys, and criminal justice reform advocates, also praised his selection.
“We have enough enhancements, enough criminalization, enough mass incarceration, enough over-sentencing — more than we need. We need prevention, we need healing. Rather than retributive justice, we need restorative justice,” Bonta said during a press conference with Newsom.
Although Bonta’s nomination will be a win for progressives, it is ultimately a loss for Californians and law enforcement. Rather than provide protection for victims and constituents, Democrats seem to be focused on protection for criminals. While there is a place for criminal justice protections, there needs to be a balance between the two. This imbalance can be seen in Los Angeles County, where progressive Democrat district attorney George Gascon’s soft-on-crime policies have been met with an increase in violent crimes.
California does not need another George Gascon handling its criminal justice system. Progressive approaches to law enforcement have shown to lead to unfavorable outcomes, with California ranking 39th in the nation in violent crime rate and 36th in public safety.
Photo by Jeff Chiu / AP file