University of San Francisco School of Law Alumnus Honorable Martin J. Jenkins Nominated by Gov. Gavin Newsom to California Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO (October 5, 2020) – The University of San Francisco (USF) School of Law is proud to announce the nomination of alumnus Honorable Martin J. Jenkins ‘80 to Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court by Governor Gavin Newsom. Justice Jenkins would be only the third African American man ever to serve on the state’s highest court, and the first openly gay California Supreme Court justice. Justice Jenkins will fill the vacancy created by fellow USF School of Law alumnus Associate Justice Ming W. Chin ‘64 JD ‘67, the first Chinese American justice. 

“Justice Marty Jenkins is a man of faith, of integrity, of humility, and of kindness,” said USF President Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. “His Jesuit education at both Santa Clara University and USF afforded him the intellectual skills and the strength of character to live a life of service and leadership. As a child, he first witnessed the good that a lawyer can do when a USF law alum took on Marty’s mother’s personal injury case pro bono, winning damages that allowed her to pay her medical bills. His whole career has modeled that generosity of spirit and that balance of justice and mercy.”

Justice Jenkins came to USF School of Law in 1977 after a rookie season playing cornerback in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. He graduated with honors and was awarded the Judge Harold J. Haley Award for Exceptional Distinction in Scholarship, Character, and Activities. Upon graduation, he became a prosecutor at the Alameda County District Attorney’s office, and later at the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department, where he handled racial violence and police misconduct cases. Justice Jenkins was later appointed to the Oakland municipal court, then elevated to the Alameda County superior court, eventually becoming the presiding judge of the juvenile division. 

In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Jenkins to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, before serving as an associate justice on the California Court of Appeal for the First District in San Francisco since 2008. 

“Justice Martin Jenkins has been a devoted and engaged alumnus and mentor to our USF Law students and graduates,” said Susan Freiwald, dean of the USF School of Law. “He has returned to the law school year after year to inspire our incoming students, speak at graduation, and deliver the attorneys' oath to bar passers; he has even hosted annual fireside chats at his home to connect with students and alums. The Supreme Court of California would benefit tremendously from Justice Jenkins' thoughtfulness, compassion, dedication, integrity, and insights.”

Justice Jenkins is a trustee emeritus of USF, and he gave the commencement address at the USF School of Law commencement ceremony in May 2018.

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is a private, Jesuit Catholic university that reflects the diversity, optimism, and opportunities of the city that surrounds it. USF offers more than 230 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, law, education, and nursing and health professions. At USF, each course is an intimate learning community in which top professors encourage students to turn learning into positive action, so the students graduate equipped to do well in the world — and inspired to change it for the better. For more information, visit

About the USF School of Law

Founded in 1912, the University of San Francisco School of Law has a tradition of educating effective lawyers who graduate with the professional skills and theoretical foundation necessary to succeed in the legal profession. The USF School of Law offers a rigorous education with a global perspective in a diverse, supportive community. Our graduates are skilled, ethical professionals prepared for any legal career — from intellectual property law to litigation and more — with a commitment to social justice as their enduring foundation. The USF School of Law offers full- and part-time Juris Doctor programs that empower students to develop their analytical abilities, master legal writing and research skills, acquire a firm foundation of basic law, explore an array of specialties, and refine their professional legal skills in practical settings. The law school also offers Master of Laws (LLM) programs in Taxation, Intellectual Property and Technology Law, and International Transactions and Comparative Law (for foreign lawyers), and a Master of Legal Studies in Taxation (MLST) for non-lawyers. The USF School of Law is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. For more information, visit