Brown names 1st openly gay appeals court justice

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday announced the appointment of one of his top aides to serve as the first openly gay justice of the California Court of Appeal.

Jim Humes, 53, of San Francisco, if confirmed will be an associate justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division Four, based in San Francisco.

According to an interesting 2011 profile of Humes by the Los Angeles Times’ Maura Dolan, this appointment has been in the cards for quite some time.

Humes has served as Brown’s executive secretary for legal affairs, administration and policy since 2011; earlier, he was chief deputy attorney general – basically running the attorney general’s office while Brown held that post – from 2007 to 2011.

He worked at the California Department of Justice from 1993 to 2007, including stints as chief assistant of the civil division and senior assistant attorney general of the health, education and welfare section. He served in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office from 1984 to 1986 and again from 1987 to 1993; he was an associate at Banta Hoyt Banta Greene Hannen and Everall PC from 1986 to 1987 and at Jay Stuart Radetsky PC from 1983 to 1984.

Humes holds a law degree from the University of Denver; a Master of Social Science degree from the University of Colorado; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Illinois State University.

This appointment requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and First District Senior Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline.

If confirmed, Humes – a Democrat – will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Patricia Sepulveda. A Court of Appeal associate justice earns an annual salary of $204,599.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.