Gov. Newsom Attacks Federal Judge as Child-Killing, Extremist, Right-Wing Zealot Owned by the NRA

It seems that we continue to struggle with a chief executive who goes on social media to personally attack judges who have ruled against his laws or policies. No, it is not Donald Trump. This week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) went on Twitter/X to denounce U.S. Judge Roger T. Benitez as “an extremist, right-wing zealot with no regard to [sic] human life.” Four years ago, I wrote how Democrats were becoming more Trump-like in their attacks on judges and hyperbolic rhetoric. There is no better example than Gavin Newsom.

Many of us criticized Trump for his attacks on judges, including Judge Gonzalo Curiel over his hispanic heritage. Trump would often savage judges for being Democrats or liberals when there were good-faith legal disagreements over his policies.

Newsom seems increasingly to be morphing into the man that he once denounced for such “toxic” rhetoric.

Benitez earned the ire of Newsom by ruling yesterday that California’s limit on high-capacity magazines violates the Second Amendment. He previously ruled against the ban in a partial stay in 2019.

There are good-faith arguments that these bans contradict Supreme Court cases on the scope and meaning of the Second Amendment. It is certainly an open question but gun-rights advocates are challenging these laws as without constitutional or historical foundation. In New York State Rifle &Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen142 S.Ct. 2111 (2022), the Supreme Court held that

[W]hen the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. To justify its regulation, . . . the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Only if a firearm regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.’

As a lower court judge, Benitez is required to follow that precedent and, while some may see room for a contrary ruling, he wrote a lengthy opinion in Duncan v. Bonta (below) on why the California law fails under this precedent:

There is no American tradition of limiting ammunition capacity and the 10-round limit has no historical pedigree and it is arbitrary and capricious. It is extreme. Our federal government and most states impose no limits and in the states where limits are imposed, there is no consensus. Delaware landed on a 17-round magazine limit. Illinois and Vermont picked limits of 15 rounds for handguns and 10 rounds for a rifles. Colorado went with a 15-round limit for handguns and rifles, and a 28-inch tube limit for shotguns. New York tried its luck at a 7-round limit; that did not work out. New Jersey started with a 15-round limit and then reduced the limit to 10-rounds. The fact that there are so many different numerical limits demonstrates the arbitrary nature of magazine capacity limits.

Rather than attack the basis for the opinion, Newsom followed the common practice today in commentary and Congress in attacking those who hold opposing views. He posted on Twitter/X:

BREAKING: California’s high-capacity magazine ban was just STRUCK DOWN by Judge Benitez, an extremist, right-wing zealot with no regard to human life.

Wake up, America.

Our gun safety laws will continue to be thrown out by NRA-owned federal judges until we pass a Constitutional Amendment to protect our kids and end the gun violence epidemic in America.

So, rather than offer an opposing view on the historical foundations and constitutional justification for the law, Newsom called the judge a child-killing, extremist, right-wing zealot owned by the NRA.

That is not at all “toxic.”

Such trash talking is now the norm in American politics as members of Congress regularly attack journalists, whistleblowers, and others personally rather than address their underlying views. I have testified over 100 times in Congress over decades and I have never seen the degree of ad hominem attacks on witnesses by members. It is meant to not only appeal to the most extreme elements in our political system, but to chill other witnesses who may be considering testimony that a party opposes.

The attacks on judges by our political leaders are particularly chilling. I denounced it in Trump and it is no less “toxic” by Newsom. Yet, while the media universally condemned Trump in these attacks, reporters have been largely quiet or neutral in reporting the attacks by Newsom.

As for Newsom, he knows that, in the age of rage, the most rageful reigns supreme.

Here is the opinion: duncan-v-bonta-order

170 thoughts on “Gov. Newsom Attacks Federal Judge as Child-Killing, Extremist, Right-Wing Zealot Owned by the NRA”

  1. Ah yes….. Gavin Newsom…. that paragon of constitutional wisdom. He’s done such a stellar job combating crime in California while sucking down $300 bottles of wine at the French Laundry. Maybe Americans will “Wake Up”.

  2. I should be able to buy a Minuteman III missile and deploy it in my backyard because nuclear weapons don’t kill people…PEOPLE kill people.

    1. If you think you need a nuclear weapon for self defense you are clearly a psychopath, and there are “common sense” nuclear arms laws to preclude your ownership.

      1. If you think you need a high capacity firearm for self defense you are clearly a psychopath, and there should be common sense high capacity firearm laws to preclude your ownership.

        1. The difference is that firearms with a normal capacity (which you falsely call “high”) are in fact useful for self- and home defense. If your home is attacked by a mob, as has frequently happened in our history and could easily happen again, you don’t want to run out of bullets while defending yourself from them. Whereas no individual ever has a legitimate use for a nuclear weapon; only entities the size of nations have a use for them.

        2. “high capacity firearm”

          What does that mean?

          11 rounds? 16?

          So 10 (or 15) is constitutional (and sane)? But 11 (or 16) is unconstitutional (and insane)?

    2. You should.
      If you fill out the proper paper work.
      Pay for the tax stamp.
      Prove that you can house the missile in a secure location, that would be inaccessible to unauthorized people to include providing security 24/7, 365 day a year.
      Why not?

      1. Yea, and of course since its purely for self defense, good luck killing the threat without melting your own face off.

    3. “PEOPLE kill people.”

      There is a relationship between the killer and the one killed, the latter in the sights of the former. A minuteman missile has no such connection.

  3. Having lived in California since Reagan was Governor, and then Jerry Brown, and a series of republicans, and then Jerry Brown again — and now this guy – Newsom….
    if this guy runs for potus, anyone who votes for him is a fool — Brylcreme, a little dab’l’do ya What really pisses Newsom off is that his main squeeze for some time was Kimberly Guilfoyle….and she then went to be with Donald Trump, Jr. lol

    1. if this guy runs for potus, anyone who votes for him is a fool

      Lots of Californians will indeed vote for him. Some may be fools, others just want him out of their state.

  4. ROFLMAO! I don’t care for Newsome or Democrats in general, but the historical fact is that politicians have been calling judges and each other names since the Founding. It’s nothing new. Every generation seems to think they are unique – they’re not. The only thing that’s changed is there is almost instant communication today and stories are quickly widespread. It’s just another politician spouting off.

  5. I think it was Benjamin Franklin who once said that those who are willing to give Putin a BJ in exchange for a little security don’t deserve it, or words to that effect.

    1. And Biden’s education secretary doesn’t think parents know what’s right for their kids. Only the government knows.

    2. So when are you going down to the recruiting center to enlist in a combat MOS and volunteer for the front lines when WWIII kicks off?
      Are you too old?
      The Ukraine army is taking men in their 60s, even 70s.
      And if not you, why are you not taking your kids or grandkids down to enlist?

      1. Upstate – be careful, he may be a Ukrainian oligarch who is receiving tens of millions of the unaudited American taxpayer dollars going to the corrupt regime.

  6. the Left has been using these kinds of attacks for at least over a decade

    Thirty-six years to be exact. Senator Kennedy started these attacks in 1987 when President Reagan nominated Judge Bork for SCOTUS.

    1. Not 36 years. Try almost 80.

      After liberal saint FDR sent Republican boys to die in Europe to defeat Hitler, his VP who succeeded him as President, Democrat Harry Truman, had an election to win in 1948. To do so he called Dewey a Hiter wannabe during his “whistlestop” tours. That’s how disgusting Democrats are, and have been, for almost 80 years. And when you consider they were the party of slavery and segregation, it is really difficult to find a time in all of human history when they were not disgustingly rancid liars, and often crooks. I have a theory that because the Democrat Party is sometimes referred to as the oldest continuing political party, it’s utterly rancid history and nature is why “democracy” is such a hard sell to countries that have never been small “d” democratic.

      When the New York Times resembled a real newspaper, it reported on Truman’s campaign lies comparing northeast liberal Republican Dewey to Hitler.

      One more thing. When Trump was running in 2015, I read an article in which the author dug up and provided footnoted sources for quotes of elected Democrats in which they described the Republican nominee in EVERY election since FDR as a fascist, Nazi, or compared them to Hitler. EVERY cycle. Jerry Brown Sr. and Jr. both did it as governor of CA. Some high profile Democrat mayors did it. It’s all footnoted.

    2. The Democrat Party, formerly known as the party of the ‘common man’ supporting low tariffs and individual and state rights, died. In its early history, its troublesome concern was slavery.

      Today, they are fascist, where the elites try to enslave the ‘common man,’ removing his and his state rights while impoverishing them with high taxes and repressive laws.

      This once great party is now the party of hate, invective and nihilism having little concern for persons other than themselves.

  7. What Newsome fails to address is the gun related crimes committed by criminals in his mostly lawless state.
    How many times have we read about news crews, in CA, covering a crime related story only to get robbed at gun point:
    High capacity magazines do not commit crimes. Nor do the guns the magazines go into. It is the criminal who does. And based off the definition of a criminal, that person generally is not inclined to obey laws that law abiding citizens do.
    Funny how that works.
    But no. Newsome and other like minded Democrats just blame an inanimate object with no free-will or conscience of its own.

        1. How else do you explain that criminals in the US commit so many more mass murders than criminals in countries where high capacity magazines are illegal?

          1. 1) They are criminals.
            2) With a unsecure border, the cartels are bringing high capacity magazines across the border and selling them to criminals. Black market driven economy.
            3) Most mass murders are gang related crimes in soft on crime, no cash bail, and decrminalized laws passed in Democrat ran cities.
            4) Teenagers with 3D printers have found a new way to make some easy cash: 3D print high capacity magazines and sell them to criminals!
            5) Criminal children ask Santa for high capacity magazines for Christmas!

          2. In a nation that already has hundreds of millions of guns, anti-gun legislation is not effective other than to disarm law-abiding citizens.

          3. How else do you explain that criminals in the US commit so many more mass murders than criminals in countries where high capacity magazines are illegal?

            When normalized for demographics and for general crime rate, they don’t.

      1. “High capacity magazines make it easier for criminals to kill lots of people.”

        So anything that makes it easier for criminals to kill lots of people should be unconstitutional? That’s a very long list. And you don’t criminalize a tool because some choose to abuse it.

      2. Actually is it the psychos who the social services for all democrat party ignored when they were killing kittens in elementary school.
        The crazy people always get through the net.

  8. The judge’s loyalty is to a timeless document containing these words: the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    It is not to some politician who is here today gone tomorrow. Or in Newsom’s case, hair today gone tomorrow.

      1. Different Anon. here. It’s a typo in a quote from Macbeth: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

    1. Newsom and nihilism are brothers and sisters to the leftist movement. They believe in nothing and will say or do anything without care until their end.

  9. In the Colorado case to keep Trump off ballot as an insurrectionist, a state court judge has issued a narrow gag order against Trump & other parties to avoid “threats, acts of harassment of intimidation” against litigants, witnesses & counsel and from making “any statement to the media or in public settings, including through social media, that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.” I’m surprised that Turley isn’t writing about it.

  10. It’s funny that JT says “Many of us criticized Trump for his attacks on judges,” but doesn’t link to where he did it. He always links to his previous columns.

      1. Thanks. Now we need at least one more column criticizing Trump for insulting a different judge, since Turley said “Many of us criticized Trump for his attacks on judgeS” (plural).

  11. Newsom called the judge a child-killing, extremist, right-wing zealot owned by the NRA

    You know who actually guns down children? Black inner city thugs. It would be easier to ban them.

  12. seems to Democrats are fighting their 2nd civil war…using government against the people of the USA.
    Time to Eradicate the Democrat Party(2 Civil Wars are 2 too many)…it is OBVIOUS they hate America and wish to destroy it!

    Anyone involved in assisting INVADERS should be JAILED… I am not kidding! Why did NO ONE go to jail for the Russian Hoax….where 100’s in and out of government attempted to overthrow a sitting president…never mind the TWO fraud impeachments. While Bidens are open criminals….and NO ONE DOES ANYTHING! Garland should be jailed for actions.

    Democrats are also piling up Debt as they STEAL ever larger amounts of money….the Average Household of the USA OWES $300,000 of Federal Debt.
    How are people paying that back?

    The leadership of GOP appear to be Manchurians doing all they can to jail Trump and give Democrats EVERYTHING THEY WANT. The “GOP” leadership abortion fight appears to be used to drive people away from the Republicans in political suicide that has almost NOTHING to do with running government!

  13. It is CLEAR that Democrats have become 1930 German socialists…oops I mean fascists

    Time for the Republicans to STOP being nice guys….and START jailing THESE CRIMINALS!

  14. “Four years ago, I wrote how Democrats were becoming more Trump-like in their attacks on judges and hyperbolic rhetoric.”

    So Newsom engages in trash talk, and in order to address Newsom’s conduct Turley feels it necessary to first attack Trump, as if Trump has anything to do with Newsom’s conduct or Trump is the singular American politician that invented trash talk, and prior to Trump politicians were all saints in $800 suits, or in Newsom’s case, a saint with an $800 haircut and $2000 suit.

    I’m not going to bother mentioning some of the famous quotes by Thomas Jefferson or Abe Lincoln proving that contrary to the Professor’s BIZARRE opinion, Trump is NOT the inventor of trash talk. It’s enough to notice that every time Turley feels it necessary to criticize anyone — especially a democrat — he compulsively feels it necessary to attack Trump as a preface to that criticism, I guess so as to maintain his membership in the collegiate democrat CLOWN CLUB.

    Is it part of the Professor’s contract with Anti-Trump Garbage Fox that he has to slam Trump before criticizing anyone else?

    1. By this time it’s probably a reflex action, no more thought of nor considered than a fart, possibly less so, in that one realizes one has farted.

      TDS has eaten its way into the brains of formerly quite respectable Constitutional scholars (see Professor Ilya Somin for an extreme example).

      1. Maybe instead of assigning reading to his students, his students might assign the Professor a little reading — nothing so cumbersome as a whole book, since I’m sure that even lawyers get a little tired of reading — maybe just a very-brief article from one of his hometown newspapers touching on the glorious history of political trash talk in America:

        “The deplorable history of U.S. campaign mudslinging”

              1. Interesting. That’s the exact same meal I have on National Get Sh!t-Faced And Fall Asleep On The Couch Day.

      2. By your reasoning, then, if Turley doesn’t like Trump – or believes Trump verbally attacks judges and uses hyperbolic rhetoric – then, Turley is no longer respectable? That seems to illustrate the point of this article. When you don’t like someone or their ideas or their behaviors, you see them as bad people. And….you attack them personally and name-call instead of deconstructing their argument.

        1. Wow. You should go to the Olympics you’d be in medal contention for the mental broad jump event.

          I didn’t call anyone a name; and I referred to a deterioration in Constitutional thought, not in personal ethos.

          For the love of Heaven, little girl, learn to read for sense.

    2. They have to blame Trump because the false premise that Politicians work for us is a lie they still believe. So everything wrong begins and ends with their boogie man….the one guy who actually was trying to get things done for the American people and not the lobbyists who donate to him.

    3. Trump isn’t the inventor, but he does it more than any other politician, so he’s the poster boy for childish insults.

      1. Trump is far from the poster boy of inappropriateness where politics is concerned. His leadership is transparent, and he does or attempts to do what he promised. Under Trump, our nation did well.

        What do the Democrats of the Day have to offer? Censorship, fascist leadership, lies, broken promises, and a nation in a downward spiral.

        We should concentrate on policy and transparency. Democrats fail in both of those regards.

    4. I’m sure he mentions trump because as soon as he doesn’t, commenters will be all “what about trump” or “I didn’t hear you complain when Trump was doing it.” I would be willing to bet that some commenters who don’t read the whole article will be saying similar things.

      1. You might very well be right (or partially right) about that, but it’s an absolutely horrible excuse if that’s what’s motivating the Professor, as it would mean that Turley is allowing morons to control his thoughts and writing process and make him repeat and repeat and repeat the same old tired “Trump did it first” predicate, which is a misrepresentation of the long, inglorious history of political trash talk. Just as trash talk isn’t going to end with Trump, it didn’t begin with him, either.

  15. I have to disagree with you Professor. The “left” has been hurling invective for a long time. Decades in fact. We on the right have been called homophobes, Nazi’s and worse for decades. Not to mention Antifa’s shameless trashing of cars and property at the 2001 inauguration . The strangeness of Mr Trump was he fired back. He also appointed judges, lots of them, and has become a massive block of the Left’s victory march. The Right in decades past had a voice but went mute for nearly 50 yrs except for an occasional Goldwater, or Gingrich. The Left is becoming more hysterical and brazen as they have broke from cover and we get their real messages now. One should read the Sect of Education’s frightening message of yesterday. It reeks of left wing wing elitism and disdain of the great unwashed. 1930’s Nazi’s would wholly approve his message. Newsom, well he thinks everything is fine in California.

    1. GEB,
      I too disagree with the good professor and agree with you the Left has been using these kinds of attacks for at least over a decade.
      Does not make it right for Trump to do it, nor anyone else.

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