GOP Sen. Ted Cruz slammed the University of California at Berkeley law school for hiring former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Responding to a UC Berkeley tweet warmly welcoming Boudin to the famous Berkeley campus, Cruz lashed out, writing:
“The disgraced former San Francisco District Attorney will be teaching generations of students at @BerkeleyLaw that ignoring the law is somehow ‘transforming’ the legal system.”
“The ‘transformation’ he forced upon his city,” Cruz wrote, “has left it far more dangerous and barren.”
The disgraced former San Francisco District Attorney will be teaching generations of students at @BerkeleyLaw that ignoring the law is somehow “transforming” the legal system.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 1, 2023
The “transformation” he forced upon his city has left it far more dangerous and barren. https://t.co/AfIQuOPv4P
Boudin takes the job as founding executive director of Berkeley Law’s new Criminal Law & Justice Center after he was recalled from the San Francisco DA position in June of 2022. Evidently the recall is the reason for what Cruz characterizes as Boudin’s “disgrace.”
Elected in 2019, Boudin suffered the recall after critics funded by big money donors labelled him “soft on crime” — a highly undesirable quality in a District Attorney. When he ran for office, the ACLU supported Boudin. The SF Police Officers Association sent out a mailer that read: “Chesa Boudin: The #1 Choice of Criminals and Gang Members!”
Boudin’s progressive politics — Open Secrets writes that he “ran on a platform of addressing racial disparities in the justice system, reducing incarceration, lowering penalties for lower-level offenses and holding police accountable” — align with Berkeley’s history as a leading university in promoting progressive agendas.
Like Berkeley, Boudin is often described as “radical” — which is what Sen. Cruz implies.
Boudin’s personal history makes it unlikely he will be troubled by Cruz’s criticism, though in his new Berkeley position he will be made to look at his DA record — and how the alarming recidivism rates, burglary increases and other data from his tenure stand apart from politically motivated criticism.
A graduate of Yale Law and a Rhodes Scholar, Boudin comes from a long and famous line of far left activists, including I.F. Stone. He comes by his inclination toward clemency — for better or worse — from personal experience.
When Boudin was not yet two years old, both his parents — members of the Weather Underground — were convicted of murder for their role as getaway car drivers in the 1981 Brink’s robbery in Rockland County, New York. His mother, Kathy Boudin, was sentenced to 20 years to life and his father, David Gilbert, to 75 years to life for the felony murders of two police officers and a security guard.