State Senate Judiciary Committee chairwoman Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, will convene a hearing Thursday in Oakland on diversity and transparency in California’s judicial appointments — a topic on which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken some heat.
Corbett issued a news release saying she called the hearing in the wake of a State Bar of California report showing a lack of ethnic and gender diversity in California’s superior courts.
“The governor is going to have a historic opportunity in the next two years to shape the superior courts of California,” she said. “That is why we must act now to ensure that the process is open and provides an equal opportunity to increase ethnic and gender diversity in our state courts.”
Among those scheduled to testify at the hearing — open to the public, at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ hearing room at 1221 Oak St. in Oakland — are California Chief Justice Ronald George; Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte; Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation chairman William Kopeny and director Bilganna Sivanov; former State Bar president Anthony Capozzi; and others. Sharon Majors-Lewis, the governor’s judicial appointments secretary, was invited but has not yet confirmed whether she’ll attend.
2006 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides had criticized Schwarzenegger’s alleged lack of diversity in judicial appointments last year, and legislative Democrats made it the subject of a budget battle this summer. But the governor has always insisted his administration is making progress on diversifying the state’s bench.