More Women and Racial Minorities in State’s Judiciary
The latest survey of California’s judges shows that women make up nearly one-third of the total of the state’s judiciary, and racial minorities have made small gains over the past five years.
The report by the Administrative Office of the Courts, based on information provided voluntarily by California’s almost 1,700 judges, found that women constitute 31.1 percent, up from 27.1 percent in 2007.
Over the same period, the amount of Latino judges increased from 6.3 percent to 8.2 percent, African Americans from 4.4 percent to 5.7 percent, and Asian Americans from 4.4 percent to 5.6percent, the report said. Those comparisons were imprecise, however, because almost 10 percent of the respondents in 2007 declined to state their race, and fewer than 3 percent did so this year.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s 15 judicial appointments last year showed more diversity: one-third were women, 20 percent each were African American and Latino, and 13.3 percent were Asian American, his office said.
On the state Supreme Court, for the first time, white males are in the minority – four of the seven justices are women, and four are partly or wholly of Asian descent. The court has no African American or Latino justices.
The state office also asked judges for the first time about their sexual orientation, an inquiry authorized by a new state law. Forty percent declined to answer, the report said; 2.2 percent, all Superior Court judges, identified themselves as lesbian, gay or transgender, and the rest as heterosexual.