California Lawyers Association

CA Bench Slowly Growing More Diverse

Women now make up 37.6% of judicial officers in California, according to demographic data released last month by the Judicial Council of California.

The data show that the bench continues to grow more racially diverse as well, with the proportion of Black, Latino and Asian judges now at 27.3%. That share has nearly doubled since 2006, when the court system began collecting data. 

The court noted the gains achieved in recent years, largely as a result of the appointments made by Governors Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom. Those include last year’s appointment of Justice Martin Jenkins to the California Supreme Court. Jenkins is the first openly gay justice and third African American man to serve on the state’s highest court.

As CLA Executive Director Ona Alston Dosunmu recently wrote, it’s important to have judges whose experiences give them a window into the lives of human beings impacted by their rulings.

“Diverse judges and justices contribute to litigants feeling heard—that is to say, helping litigants feel that, regardless of the outcome, they had their proverbial ‘day in court.”  

CLA is committed to diversifying the bench and the legal profession. Read more about our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts.

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