Monday, March 2, 2009
Statistics Show Increased Diversity on Bench
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Statistics released Friday by the Administrative Office of the Courts indicated that the diversity of the bench within California increased in 2009.
The AOC reported 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.
The figures come from the third official accounting of demographic data provided by state judges to the AOC under legislation enacted in 2006. Under SB 56, gender and racial/ethnic data is collected 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 Schwarzenegger had appointed enough Asian-American, African-American, and Latino judges.
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.
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