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California Bench Getting More Diverse, Report Says

March 2, 2020, 11:02 PM

California’s judiciary is getting a little less white and male with the number of judges claiming Latino, Asian, black, American Indian, and other races increasing over the past 14 years.

The changes reflect retirements and other departures, new judicial appointments, and an increase in the number of trial court judges who voluntarily provided race/ethnicity information, the California Judicial Council said.

Less than 2% of judges didn’t provide racial and ethnic data, down from 9.9% who didn’t respond in 2006.

Whites represented 65.6% of judges last year, down from 70.1% in 2006, the council’s report released on Monday said. White justices represented 28.6% of the California Supreme Court and 73.5% of appellate and 65.2% of trial court judges last year.

Women jurists comprised 37.4% of the 1,732 judges responding last year, up from 27.1% in 2006, the report said.

Hispanic or Latino justices comprised 10.9% of the positions, up from 6.4% in 2006 while Asians accounted for 7.9% of the jurists, up from 4.4%. Blacks accounted for 7.7% of the bench, up from 4.4% in 2006. American Indian or Alaska Native judges accounted for 0.5% of the bench in 2019 compared to 0.1% in 2006.

Eleven of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 16 judicial appointments in his first year in office were women, and nine were nonwhite, the report said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at jcutler@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom P. Taylor at ttaylor@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

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