Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, April 7, 2008


Page 3


Commission Confirms Judge Martin Jenkins as Court of Appeal Justice


By a MetNews Staff Writer


U.S. District Judge Martin J. Jenkins was confirmed Friday as a justice of Div. Three of the First District Court of Appeal.

The three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously approved Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nomination of Jenkins, 54, following a brief hearing in San Francisco. For First District appointments, the commission consists of Chief Justice Ronald George, Attorney General Jerry Brown, and the district’s senior presiding justice,  J. Anthony Kline of Div. Two.

Jenkins, a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of California, was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Joanne C. Parrilli.

He was appointed to the Oakland-Piedmont-Emeryville Municipal Court in 1989, and to the Alameda Superior Court in 1992. He became a U.S. district judge in 1997 after he was nominated to the post by President Clinton.

In one of his best-known cases, decided last year, he threw out Attorney General Jerry Brown’s suit seeking to hold automakers responsible for global warming. The judge noted that global warming has multiple causes, and that disagreement exists as to how much automotive pollution contributes to the overall problem.

“The court is left without guidance in determining what is an unreasonable contribution to the sum of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere, or in determining who should bear the costs associated with global climate change that admittedly result from multiple sources around the globe,” Jenkins wrote.

Jenkins attended City College in San Francisco, and then later graduated from Santa Clara University in 1977, where he played varsity football and tennis, and received an honorable mention for the NCAA Div. II All-American football team. 

After college, he signed a National Football League contract to play for the Seattle Seahawks. However, he told the San Francisco Chronicle in a 2004 interview that he decided to shift careers after two games and go into law after realizing that he would make a better lawyer than a football player.

He is not listed on the Seahawks’ all-time roster and does not appear to have played in a regular-season National Football League game.

Jenkins graduated from law school at the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1980.  He was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1981, and that year became a deputy district attorney in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

In 1983, Jenkins became a civil rights trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, where his work took him throughout the country to prosecute Ku Klux Klan members and others accused of racial violence. 

However, after his mother became ill in 1985, he returned the Bay Area and took a position as a trial attorney for Pacific Bell handling personal injury and wrongful termination cases, and directing the company’s summer law clerk program. He continued to serve in this position until his first appointment to the bench.

Jenkins remains active in a number of civic, religious and charitable organizations, serving youth in the Bay Area, and also referees high school and college football games.


Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company