Hector Gonzalez is a well-experienced litigator who, despite his nomination to the federal bench by Trump last year, has strong Democratic party ties. While Gonzalez was not confirmed in 2020, he stands favored to take the bench next year.
The 58-year-old Gonzalez got his B.S. from Manhattan College in 1985 and then attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating in 1988.
After graduation, Gonzalez started as an associate at Rogers & Wells and then joined the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney in 1990. Gonzalez then shifted over to federal prosecution in 1994, working his way to Chief of the Narcotics Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.
In 1999, Gonzalez became a Partner at Mayer Brown and moved to Dechert LLP in 2011, where he currently works and chairs the Global Litigation Practice.
In 2014, Gonzalez was recommended for a seat on the New York Court of Appeals (which ,despite its name, is New York’s highest court), but Judge Eugene Fahey was appointed instead.
History of the Seat
Gonzalez has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to the seat vacated by Judge Brian Cogan on June 12, 2020. Gonzalez was previously nominated for this seat late in the Trump Administration but was never confirmed.
While Gonzalez started his career as a firm associate, his first major position was as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Gonzalez rose to be Chief of the Narcotics Unit, practicing both at the trial level and the Second Circuit. In 1999, Gonzalez moved to Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw LLP. At Mayer Brown, Gonzalez notably was one of the lead attorneys represented telecommunications companies in the landmark Bell Atlantic v. Twombly case, which tightened pleading requirements for plaintiffs in the federal government.
Since 2011, Gonzalez has been a Partner with Dechert LLP. While at the firm, Gonzalez represented the Takata Corporation in investigations of airbag inflator ruptures. He also represented the Bank of New York Mellon in a series of investigations and litigation.
Gonzalez’s political history is strongly Democratic. Over the course of his career, Gonzalez has given to President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a number of New York house members, and Montana Governor Steve Bullock.
Civilian Complaint Review Board
In 2002, Gonzalez was named by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to be Chairman of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that investigates police misconduct. Gonzalez’s tenure almost immediately was bogged in controversy when a whistleblower claimed that the agency ignored racial discrimination and was biased towards police. As Chairman, Gonzalez pushed back against strip searching practices in the NYPD, recommending new training on the issue. Additionally, Gonzalez led the Board as it charged a deputy chief with misconduct for ordering the arrest of a protester at the 2004 Republican National Convention. The action, and related statements, drew sharp criticism from NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who argued that the Department had been careful in its policing. He also, paradoxically, was criticized by other observers for not doing enough to reign in the Police Department.
Gonzalez’s record overall is fairly liberal, and his renomination by the Biden Administration is a recognition of that fact. While Gonzalez is likely to draw strong opposition from Republicans due to his record on policing in particular, Gonzalez looks likely to be confirmed the second time around.
 Hector Gonzalez, Profile, Dechert.com, available at https://www.dechert.com/people/g/hector-gonzalez.pdf (last visited Aug. 21, 2020).
 See Peter Lattman, Lead Rajaratnam Prosecutor to Join Dechert, N.Y. Times Blogs, Jan. 13, 2012.
 Denise Champagne, COA Nominees Forwarded to Governor, Daily Record of Rochester, Dec. 2, 2014.
 See id.
 See Twombly v. Bell Atl. Corp., 425 F.3d 99 (2d Cir. 2004).
 See Gonzalez, supra n. 1.
 See id.
 Center for Responsive Politics, https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup/results?cand=&cycle=&employ=&name=Hector+Gonzalez&order=desc&sort=D&state=NY&zip= (last visited Aug. 22, 2020).
 Diane Cardwell, Bloomberg Fills Gaps, Naming Four to Posts In His Administration, N.Y. Times, Apr. 5, 2002.
 Kevin Flynn, Civilian Board on Police Misconduct Defends Itself on Claim That It is Soft, N.Y. Times, Sept. 25, 2002.
 William Rashbaum, Police Complaint Board Finds Some Strip Searches Improper, N.Y. Times, May 13, 2004.
 Jim Dwyer, Charges, But No Penalty, for a Chief’s Role in a Convention Arrest – Correction Appended, N.Y. Times, Mar. 9, 2006.
See Bradley Hope, Complaints Spike But Police Punish Fewer Officers, N.Y. Sun, June 30, 2006.
 See CCRB: Dead Board Walking, NYPD Confidential, Sept. 18, 2006, http://nypdconfidential.com/print/2006p/060918p.html.