Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, March 1, 2013


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Governor’s, AOC’s Data Show:

Percentages of Black, Hispanic, Female Judges Increased in 2012




The number of African-American and Latino and Latina judges in California increased last year and well exceeds the proportion of members of those groups in the State Bar, figures released yesterday show.

State law requires the governor, by March 1 of each year, to disclose aggregate statewide data regarding judicial appointments and applications. The law also requires the Administrative Office of the Courts to report data concerning the judiciary as a whole.

The governor’s report shows that Brown last year appointed seven African-American judges, constituting 9.3 percent of his appointments for the year. African Americans constituted 6.1 percent of the state’s judges as of December, according to the AOC figures, compared to 2.7 percent of State Bar members as of 2011.

Hispanic Judges

The governor last year appointed 13 Hispanic judges, who were 17.3 percent of his appointees for the year, bringing the percentage of Hispanics in the judiciary as a whole to 8.3 percent. Hispanics were 4.2 percent of all California lawyers in 2011.

The percentage of Asian-American judges, however, continued to trail the percentage of Asian-American lawyers, the records show. Asian Americans, after three appointments by Brown last year, are 5.8 of all sitting judges and justices, compared to 5.8 percent of State Bar members.

The proportion of women in the judiciary also increased last year, which the AOC noted reflects a trend of the past seven years, although females remain a disproportionately small part of the judiciary. Women constituted 34.7 percent of the appointees for the year, and are now 31.3 percent of the judiciary; 39.4 percent of State Bar members were women as of 2011.

The governor appointed 50 “White or Caucasian” judges and justices last year, 66.7 percent of all his appointees. That category accounts for 71.4 percent of the judiciary, compared to 79.3 percent of State Bar members.

The governor’s office also released data regarding LGBT judges and applicants, pursuant to legislation that took effect last year. The data shows that Brown appointed 4 LGBT judges, 5.3 percent of all appointees, and that 2.4 percent of all California judges and justices identified as LGBT as of the end of the year.

‘Notable Firsts’

In a statement accompanying the release of the numbers, Brown pointed to “a number of notable firsts” including his appointments of the state’s first Muslim judge, first openly gay appellate justice, first female judge in the history of the Del Norte Superior Court, the first open lesbian judge of the Alameda Superior Court, and the first Latino judge of the Marin Superior Court.

In addition, Brown noted, with the appointments of Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Rosendo Peña and Sixth District Justice Manuel Marquez as the first Latino members of those courts, there is now a Latino or Latina justice in every appellate district.

The AOC commented in its release that “[i]ncreasing the diversity of California’s judicial officers to reflect the rich diversity of California’s populace continues to be a key goal of the Judicial Council of California.”

The following chart was provided by the Governor’s Office:


*Under SB 182, signed in 2011 and effective January 1, 2012, the administration’s judicial application was modified to include a question that asks each judicial applicant to provide demographic data concerning sexual orientation. Because a response to this question is voluntary and because any application received in 2011 did not include this question at all, this data represents only a partial snapshot of judicial appointee demographics. Similarly, because all applications received prior to January 1, 2012 do not contain this question, this data is unavailable for 2011, and therefore a cumulative report for years 2011 and 2012 is not possible.


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