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Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. (Photo: Steve Aunan for California Globe)

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg Under Consideration For Appellate Court Judge

‘It’s worrying to have someone that opinionated in a judicial setting’

By Evan Symon, December 27, 2022 4:21 pm

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced Tuesday that he is currently being vetted by longtime political ally California Governor Gavin Newsom for a judicial seat on the Third District Court of Appeals.

Steinberg, a graduate of UCLA and UC Davis, began his political career in 1992 following several years of being an employee rights attorney for the California State Employees Association (CSEA) labor union, and an administrative law judge. A Sacramento City Councilman from 1992-1998, Steinberg then became an Assemblyman, serving from 1998 to 2004. During this time, he became well known for writing numerous bills dealing with labor unions, education, Cal/OSHA, mental health, including major expansions in mental health coverage.

In 2006, Steinberg was elected to the state Senate, and was then reelected in 2010. His time in the Senate proved more controversial, including an infamous attempt to try and reduce working hours for teens if their grade point average didn’t reach a certain level, and being targeted by federal authorities along with then state Senator Kevin de Leon in a sting operation that was thwarted at the last minute. In addition, he also became known as the Senate’s main mental health and homeless advocate, writing numerous bills and state propositions centered around them.

Termed out of the State Legislature following his Senate run, which included being President pro tempore for most of his two terms, Steinberg was elected Mayor of Sacramento in 2016, a position he has held to today. As Mayor, Steinberg has been noted for numerous failed homelessness initiatives, with the city having a growing homeless problem despite more and more money being spent on accommodating them, as well as runaway spending on homeless shelters throughout the city.

Steinberg eyed for Appeals judgeship

Despite the recent issues with Steinberg, Governor Newsom put Steinberg  on a list of potential judges, announced on Tuesday as in the vetting process. Now a judicial nominee for the Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento, Steinberg could be selected as soon as early next year – well into second term as Mayor. While Steinberg has been on the short list of political appointments before, most recently in 2020 when he lost out the Attorney General of California to Rob Bonta, the process has never gone this far before.

“I have two years left in my current term as mayor and I am fully focused on the challenges and opportunities we face in the city of Sacramento,” Mayor Steinberg said in a statement on Tuesday. “I’ve submitted an application for the judiciary because I’m open to all possibilities for my long term future.”

For the city of Sacramento, a successful Steinberg appointment next year would also mean a special election for Mayor to take place for the rest of his term into 2024, possibly shaking up the areas political lines before the 2024 election.

“Steinberg being elevated to Judge would have a lot of effects,” explained Brett Hill, a judicial appointment watchdog in Washington, to the Globe on Tuesday. “First of all, Steinberg has been trying to pass all sorts of different laws concerning the homeless, and mental health, and education, and a lot of other different issues for decades. As a judge, he can easily rule on them. It’s worrying to have someone that opinionated in a judicial setting.”

“And then there is the question on what will happen in Sacramento. If someone else gets in as Mayor, they can undo a lot of his policies, or, potentially, bolster them. These sorts of appointments tend to make some pretty big waves, and a Steinberg appointment to a judgeship would definitely qualify.”

More on who Newsom is looking to appoint to the open judicial slots is expected soon.

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9 thoughts on “Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg Under Consideration For Appellate Court Judge

  1. Mmm, sounds about right, failing up!
    So how many years has he done on the bench?
    I guess being a target of a federal investigation is all one really needs to become a higher court judge????

  2. Unf—ing believable! Leave it to Newsom to consider this loser. Steinberg should RETIRE. He is ill-suited intellectually and temperamentally for any judgeship post.
    This quid pro quo system of appointing judges reeks.

  3. It sucks to be us when they are them. I keep praying to my chihuahua that Gruesome gets boosted to a heart attack, or any kind of life threatening attack.

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