Jerry Brown touts growing diversity among judges

Gov. Jerry Brown is touting the increased diversity he’s bringing to state courts.

Brown’s office announced today that he has made 90 judicial appointments since taking office, drawing from a pool of 1,168 applicants. Women accounted for about a third of the applicant pool and more than 34 percent of Brown’s appointments; about 34 percent of the applicants identified themselves as ethnic minorities, and 37 percent of Brown’s appointments came from among these.

Brown’s 2012 appointments included Halim Dhanidina, the first American-Muslim judge ever appointed in California; Jim Humes, the first openly gay justice to serve on the California Court of Appeal; Miguel Marquez, the first Latino justice to serve on the Sixth District Court of Appeal; Rosendo Peña, the first Latino justice to serve on the Fifth District Court of Appeal; Chris Doehle, the first female judge to serve on the Del Norte County Superior Court; Kimberly Colwell, the first openly lesbian judge to be appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court; and Mark Andrew Talamantes, the first Latino judge to serve on the Marin County Superior Court.

Brown’s office also noted this is the first time in the state’s history that a Latino or Latina is serving on all six state Courts of Appeal.

The state’s Administrative Office of the Courts reported that overall diversity on the California bench has been increasing gradually since 2006.

State laws require the governor to disclose judicial applicants’ demographic data every year by March 1.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • moderatevoter

    Number of women Brown has appointed seems too low, as I understand it more women then men graduate from top tier law schools in California, I read that somewhere. That’ s been going for sometime, so Brown’s touting of his diverse appointments seems odd, last time I checked women made up about half the population In 1974 34% would have been a lot, not in 2013.

  • JohnW

    @1 Moderatevoter

    It’s true that more women than men are entering and graduating from law school. Same is true of medical school. However, there are other variables that would determine their likelihood to be considered for a judicial appointment. Those who clerk for appeals court judges or who get involved in politics or work as prosecutors are more likely. Those who join a law firm or work for a corporate legal department are less likely. Eventually, however, it’s hard to imagine that women would not hold at least half of the judgeships.

  • Publius

    When you view the world through the prism of race, gender and class. All you see is race, gender and class.

    I am still waiting for the first openly bi-sexual, afro-asian transgender to be appointed to the bench. I need more diversity like Christopher Walken needs more cow bell! Come on Jerry, you can do better……….

  • RR senile columnist

    I’d like to see a dolphin appointed to the bench. A dolphin would be sensitive to environmental issues.

  • Elwood

    @ RR # 4

    “I’d like to see a dolphin appointed to the bench. A dolphin would be sensitive to environmental issues.”

    And more intelligent than many humans.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    I always thought judges were appointed by how much money they contributed to politicians campaigns. The only thing about judges that’s 100%, is the fact they want their home address kept from the public. Something like all of the critters who have posted on this page. The nastiest judges I have ever seen in action, are all women.
    Before some Wuss jumps on me, there is a female judge, who lived near me, who I met, the last time I voted at a booth. She seemed nice in person. I have never seen her in action.
    I wonder when people will wise up & use robots for judges?

  • Common Tater

    We ARE using robots for judges right now. The knee-jerk liberal bench puts no thought into their decisions. It is very much an automatic thought process.

  • GV Haste

    When will diversity begin to include everyone?

    Forgetting judges for the moment.
    How about within city departments and agencies where not a single white male might be found dealing with the public. Is that work environment fully open and friendly? What do actual the numbers indicate?
    Is there discrimination (less points) if the applicant can’t speak Spanish, or Chinese, etc.
    And on and on.

    We are being told that in a few short years, there will be no majority.
    What do you do then to redress the lack of hiring of certain groups in city positions?

    Politicians have been running for so long in the direction of diversity, that they may not know when they’ve already passed the finish line by 20 yards.

    Again, judges may not be the best place to view this topic, but elsewhere its time to begin wondering about the end game of “diversity”. Not even to mention the growing issue of multicultural individuals.

    How about the gender diversity in our public universities and colleges? How about the diversity of UC Berkeley?

    Breakout the algorithms to guide Jerry on those issues.

  • JohnW

    @7 Common Tater “The knee-jerk liberal bench…”

    See the link for statistics on the “liberal bench”

    Supreme Court — 5 to 4 in favor of justices appointed by Republican presidents.

    In the 13 Circuit courts, Republican appointees slightly outnumber Democratic appointees 82 to 80. Also, Republican appointees dominate in 7 circuits, including the influential DC and Federal circuits. Democratic appointees control 5 circuits, including the SF-based 9th Circuit. One court is evenly split.