Attorney General nominee Xavier Becerra, who has vowed to defend California's liberal policies against President-elect Donald Trump, faces his first confirmation hearing Tuesday before a mostly friendly Democratic-controlled panel of the state Assembly.
A nine-member Assembly committee will question Becerra, a Democrat in the U.S House of Representatives who was appointed to be attorney general by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. Becerra, the highest-ranking Latino in Congress, would replace former California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November.
In a letter, Becerra told the Assembly Special Committee on the Office of the Attorney General that he plans to defend California's immigration and climate change policies if confirmed as the state's top law enforcement official. He pointed to the policy of stop-and-frisk, a tactic where police stop and search people they deem suspicious, as one area he would challenge President-elect Donald Trump. During his campaign, Trump said he supports the controversial policy.
Legislative Democrats have enthusiastically welcomed Brown's nomination of Becerra. Republicans on the committee say they are eager to question the Los Angeles-area congressman about his positions on law enforcement matters.
Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, called the positions Becerra outlined in his letter predictable. He said he plans to question Becerra about how the state should handle drivers under the influence of marijuana and mend relationships between police departments and the communities they serve.