Judge Katherine Feinstein leaving Superior Court position has politicians shrieking

S.F. Examiner File PhotoJudge Katherine Feinstein's last day as a San Francisco judge will be Feb. 1

S.F. Examiner File PhotoJudge Katherine Feinstein's last day as a San Francisco judge will be Feb. 1

A collective shriek rang out Wednesday when Judge Katherine Feinstein announced she’ll be stepping down from her position as a San Francisco Superior Court judge and may run for public office.

Why a shriek? Because the bench of California politicians hoping for a promotion is already very crowded.

Katherine’s mother, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 79, has represented California in the Senate for 20 years. Our other representative, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, 72, has been in the Senate for 19 years, and was in the House of Representatives for 10 years before that. Add the fact that Gov. Jerry Brown, 74, still appears committed to staying in office until 2018, and you can see that upward opportunities for folks such as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Attorney General Kamala Harris, and state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg are nonexistent. It’s even worse here in San Francisco, where U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, 72, has been our congresswoman since 1987.

Of course, our senators have plum committee assignments and Pelosi gets to help make committee assignments, so there is a benefit to having a team with such a lengthy tenure. But sharks gotta swim and politicians have to avoid the private sector, so the “lost generation” of politicians frozen out by long-term incumbents waits. And waits.

And waits.

Katherine Feinstein has been cagey about her plans so far, but if she were to run for her mother’s seat with her mother’s support and Democratic Party connections, some desperate person in the already lengthy queue of people waiting to run for higher office might want to change their names to Barack Obama.

Melissa Griffin’s column runs each Thursday and Sunday. She also appears Mondays in “Mornings with Melissa” at  6:45 a.m. on KPIX (Ch. 5). Email her at mgriffin@sfexaminer.com.

Barbara BoxerBay Area NewsGavin NewsomLocalMelissa Griffin

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal co-founded Grow SF, which plans to produce election voter guides offering a moderate agenda. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

Most Read