Last weekend, Townhall reported that U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled that a 32-year old law out of California which banned assault weapons was unconstitutional. The judge’s decision involved a permanent injunction against the law, though it was stayed for 30 days, so as to allow the state to appeal. And appeal it did.
On Thursday, Rob Bonta, the state’s Democratic attorney general and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) held a press conference on the rooftop of the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center to announce their decision.
A press release from Bonta’s office, which also includes the notice of appeal, is full of the kind of fired up rhetoric you’d expect.
But the truly personal jabs came during the preference conference itself.
Gov. Newsom emphasized Judge Benitez is “a stone-cold ideologue” and “a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association,” claiming his decisions were “might as well be” the “editorial pages of Gun & Ammo magazine.”
“We got a lot of work to do, but you need to call folks out, and we need to call this federal judge out,” Newsom said. “He will continue to do damage. Mark my words,” the governor warned.
Such personal attacks came even as Newsom shared that as “a son of a judge,” he was “very cautious when it comes to attacking judicial decisions.” Newsom said he had “sat back” for too long and called Judge Benitez “unserious.”
Newsom also called to mind comments from Robyn Thomas of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence made during the press release, that the decision last week came down on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, suggesting the timing was purposeful.
The judge, Newsom claimed, “chooses to put this decision out on that day,” which “says everything about his character,” emphasizing it was “shameful, in every way, shape, and form.”
The comments directed at Judge Benitez did not go unnoticed, including the California Rifle and Pistol Association. As Jeremy B. White reported for POLITICO:
California Rifle and Pistol Association President C.D. Michel responded by accusing Newsom of “tyranny” of the kind Benitez’s family fled Cuba to escape.
“Gavin Newsom’s Department of Justice had the opportunity to present its facts in court — and failed to do so. Now that Judge Benitez ruled against Gavin Newsom, he is shamefully attacking a federal judge with politicized falsehoods because Newsom got a result he didn’t like,” Michel said in an emailed statement. “Newsom can stomp his feet all he wants, but the Constitution will win the day.”
“The Attorney General will also ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to stay the district court’s ruling, which would extend the current 30-day stay of the decision and leave the laws in effect throughout the appeal process,” the press release read.