Former Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom has been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, beginning this week.

Bloom is a graduate of Loyola Law School and worked as a sole practitioner from 1978 to 2005. He served on the Santa Monica City Council for 13 years, with multiple stints as mayor, between 1999 and 2012. He then went on to represent the 50th District in the California State assembly from 2012 until 2022, when he announced he would not be running for a sixth term.

He launched a campaign for LA County’s Third Supervisorial District in 2022, but withdrew his candidacy in February, stating at the time that he wanted to take a step back from politics to decide how he could “best be of service” going forward.

In a recent interview with the Daily Press, Bloom said he believes this new role as a judge will allow him to do just that.

“Now is an opportunity for me to serve in a very different way…” he said. “Being a judge will be a decision making role for people on a very, very granular and personal level, and that’s a very different role, but it’s one that I look forward to.”

As a lawyer he spent some time as a temporary judge and then worked on the Judicial Council for the Assembly. He said those experiences would help with the learning curve of his new job.

“It’s given me a knowledge base that is going to be very useful as I participate in various judicial activities,” he said. “Being a judge certainly means being the central figure in a courtroom, but there are also administrative opportunities to work on committees and being part of the judicial management structure that present themselves and so I think having that broad background is going to be very helpful going forward.”

He noted, however, that it will require a significant adjustment and mindset shift from his previous positions.

“The canons of judicial ethics require that we maintain an overall neutrality and not express political opinions,” he said. “So that obviously is going to be a dramatic change from a role where my opinions are the thing …”

As excited as he is for the new role, he said it will be strange at first to be out of the political scrum.

“That’s going to be a real big difference and it’s going to take some time for me to adjust to that it’s going to seem very, very strange. And frankly, as a person who served close to 24 years now in elected bodies I’ve learned to enjoy the give and take of politics,” he said. “I think there’s certainly as much if not more to be said for being a member of the Judiciary, but it will require some significant adjustments.”

Bloom has been assigned to work primarily in the family law division but may be moved around as needed. He said his previous practice as an attorney has helped him to fully appreciate the weight of the types of cases he will be hearing.

“Family law addresses some of the most difficult and emotional issues anyone can ever face – child custody… economic issues like child support and division of property – these are very, very sensitive issues that affect people in a very direct way, ” he said. “As a practitioner, when I was actively practicing law, I learned just how meaningful those issues can be for people.”

Bloom’s appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Sherilyn P. Garnett. He was selected after an intensive application process that began in May 2022 and is one of ten appointees selected by Governor Newsom to fill California Superior Court vacancies this year.

“I have very directly Governor Newsom, who made the appointment, to thank me for having the confidence in me to know that I will do well in this job,” he said.

He will serve the remainder of this term until the 2024 election cycle, when he will be able to run for re-election.

He is being sworn in at a private ceremony with his wife and children in Torrance on Wednesday Feb. 8 and said he expects to be in a courtroom as early as the next day.

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Grace Adams

Grace Adams is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she studied Spanish and journalism. She holds a Master’s degree in investigative journalism from City, University of London. She has experience...