Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Governor Notes Increase in Minority Judicial Applicants
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Remarking on data released yesterday by his office on the applicant pool for statewide judicial appointments, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger touted the increase of minority applicants to 29 percent last year.
As compared with the cumulative 19.46 percent minority applicant ratio—not counting those falling within the “unknown” category—during Schwarzenegger’s administration, the 2006 data show an applicant pool that was 13.41 percent Latino, 10.37 African-American and 4.88 percent Asian-American.
By contrast, the governor’s report stated, State Bar membership in 2006 was 3.8 Latino, 1.7 percent African-American and 5.3 percent Asian-American.
The data were released in compliance with the requirements of the recently passed SB 56, which along with creating 50 new judgeships throughout the state, called for the governor to “disclose aggregate statewide demographic data provided by all judicial applicants relative to ethnicity and gender” by March 1.
The governor credited former Judicial Appointments Advisor John G. Davies with being “instrumental to the success of [the] administration’s high quality judicial appointments” and thanked both him and former Appointments Secretary Timothy Simon for their “meticulous and hard work” in helping to diversity California’s bench.
Simon was recently appointed to the Public Utilities Commission.
Newly appointed Judicial Appointments Secretary Sharon Majors-Lewis, the first woman and first African-American to hold the post, noted in a statement that “more work remains to be done” in ensuring that the judiciary reflects the diversity of the people, but said she was “confident” that the goal can be achieved.
“A diverse bench begins with diverse law schools and a diverse bar,” she noted, echoing statements made by participants in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s first ever Diversity Summit last month.
While speaking on a panel at the summit, Davies had commented that the only thing that would boost the number of minority applicants to the bench would be “a concerted recruiting effort.” With Davies’ retirement, the Governor’s Office returned to the former practice of hiring a fulltime judicial appointments secretary rather than a part-time advisor.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company