Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Bench Diversity Continues to Rise, AOC Reports
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Demographic data released yesterday by the Administrative Office of the Courts indicated the overall number of women and minorities on the bench has continued its steady rise over the past four years.
The AOC reported that the number of female judicial officers has increased from 433 in 2007 to 453 in 2008, to 462 in 2009 and to 523 last year. Women now account for 30.8 percent of the judiciary.
In terms of ethnicity, the number of jurists self-reporting as non-white has risen from 319 to 338 to 355 to its current figure of 411, making up just over 24 percent of the bench.
The data also show the number of American Indian or Alaska Native jurists has risen from 0.1 percent in 2006, when official accounting of demographic data began, to 0.4 percent in 2010; the number of Asians increased from 4.4 percent to 5.4 percent; the number of Black or African Americans is 5.6 percent as compared to 4.4 percent in 2006; the number of Hispanic or Latinos is up from 6.3 percent to 8.2 percent; the number of Pacific Islanders has risen from 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent, and those identifying as “other” increased to 0.9 percent as compared to 0.2 percent.
On the Los Angeles Superior Court, 149 of 452 judges are female and 133 are minorities, the reports show.
The figures come from the aggregation of data voluntarily provided by state judges to the AOC, which is required to collect and release this information on or before March 1 of each year, pursuant to SB 56.
The data-collection requirements were added to the bill after some lawmakers, including former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, questioned whether former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had appointed enough Asian-American, African-American, and Latino judges.
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