Kenneth John Gonzales was born on October 26, 1964, and was raised in the suburban town of Española, New Mexico, where only a couple of casinos are present. The town he lived in had a vibrant mix of culture but also a severe drug problem. The various issues in the community were probably among the reasons he pursued and graduated with a degree in Law at the University of New Mexico in 1994.
From Clerk to Army Major
Upon graduation and perhaps while paying off his student loans, Gonzales started working as a law clerk for the then-Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, Joseph Baca. He then moved on to become a legislative assistant for the office of Senator Jeff Bingaman. His modest beginnings did not prevent him from making more sacrifices for the country as he enlisted and became a commissioned officer in the US Army Reserve. He is currently a Major at the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
A Career as a High-Profile Member of the Judiciary
Gonzales was appointed the US Attorney for the District of New Mexico in 2010, after showing that he had the passion and the capability to hold such a high office. President Barack Obama believed in Gonzales and praised him for proving himself to be diligent and tenacious in pursuing justice. Let us just hope his insurance is paid up, as we know that high-profile personalities like Gonzales are often targets for dangerous criminals. He had worked with various people of all ranks before becoming the US Attorney. He also became a Senior Trial Counsel at Fort Bragg. And to highlight just how much he loves helping those in need, Gonzales can be found working one weekend every month helping Army personnel on various legal matters, including estate planning.
As a believer in the role of education, Gonzales also holds a position as Adjunct Professor of Criminal Law at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School.
Advocacy and Promotion as Judge
Not surprisingly, in 2012, just two years after becoming the top lawyer in New Mexico, Gonzales was appointed as a US District Judge for the same legislative district, serving as a testament to his hard work. During the Senate members’ questioning before being confirmed, Senator Chuck Grassley asked him about his stand on preventing or reducing violent crime in the community. His response was brilliant and very relevant, as he advocated for the partnership of the various sectors in the community, such as the school, families, and individual members of the public. He explained that law enforcement alone won’t be able to stop crimes. He also pushed for the youth’s proper education as he saw the critical role the younger generation will play in the future. Citing his experience as a lawyer and US Attorney, he added that he had spoken with hundreds of high school students in the span of his career. He realized it was important that investments in allowing these students to be given positive choices be made, so they can be proud of themselves one day.
The Senators were satisfied with his answers, and he was given a vote of confidence. All 89 Senators approved his appointment as Judge.
Most of those who pursue a career in the judiciary aim for the bench—i.e., to be a judges. In many cases, they have to wait until they are old to be appointed. But age is just a number, as proven by Gonzales. We can only guess that he was trying to emulate Chief Justice John Roberts, the youngest ever to be elected as Chief Justice of the USA. Whether that is the case or not, time and experience have proven that Gonzales has the mettle, the passion, the advocacy, and all that it takes to be a judge, who we can expect to be fair in dispensing justice.