Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Little Change in Judge Applicant Demographic Data, JNE Report Shows
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation has released demographic data on ethnicity and gender of judicial applicants recommended by the governor for evaluation, showing little change in the applicant pool since last year.
The statistics showed that 35 percent of recommended applicants are female, while 5 percent are Asian, 10 percent are Black or African American, 14 percent are Hispanic, 56 percent are White and 15 percent are “other” or “unknown.”
The commission is a State Bar agency comprised of attorneys and public members which evaluates all candidates under consideration for a judicial appointment.
Under SB 56, enacted in 2006, the commission collects gender and racial/ethnic data on a voluntary basis.
The data-collection requirements were added to the bill after some lawmakers, including former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, questioned whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had appointed enough Asian-American, African-American, and Latino judges.
The Administrative Office of the Courts reported Friday that the number of female judicial officers has increased from 433 in 2007 to 453 last year, and that 462 women now constitute 28.8 percent of the bench.
In terms of ethnicity, the number of non-white jurists has increased in the past three years from 319 to 338 to its current figure of 355, making up 22.1 percent of the judiciary.
According to the figures released by the governor Thursday, applications for judicial appointment by minorities increased from 29 percent of the total pool in 2006 to 31 percent in 2007, but went down to just over 25 percent for 2008, while applications by women have continued to steadily increase from 33 percent of the total pool in 2006 to 36.5 percent in 2007, and to over 38 percent last year.
Females made up 33.3 percent of Schwarzenegger’s appointments during the 2008 calendar year, while Asians made up 6.3 percent, Blacks or African-Americans made up 8.3 percent, Hispanics made up 13.5 percent, Whites or Caucasians made up 56.3 percent, and “other/unknown” made up 14.6 percent.
Women now account for 33.6 percent of Schwarzenegger’s appointees to the bench, and 23.6 percent of his appointees have been minorities.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company