Demographics of California State Justices and Judges

for release
Contact: Lynn Holton, Public Information Officer, 415-865-7726
March 1, 2012
Report on Demographics of California State Justices and Judges Released Today


San Francisco—The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has released demographic data on the ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation of California state judges and justices. The information is available on the California Courts website.

The information is provided in compliance with Government Code section 12011.5(n), which requires the AOC to “collect and release” aggregate demographic data on the ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation of California state judges and justices, by specific jurisdiction, on or before March 1 of each year. The Governor and State Bar are required to collect and release the same demographic information for judicial applicants, appointees, and nominees.

This is the sixth year that the council has released this information. Added to this year’s report for the first time are demographic data on gender identity and sexual orientation as required by Senate Bill 182 (Corbett), which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2011. The bill was sponsored by Equality California.

As in previous years, the law provides that the AOC must collect and release the information provided by judges and justices. It is entirely voluntary for justices and judges to provide it.

The data are displayed in charts reflecting justices and judges on the bench as of December 31, 2011. The data show:

  1. the overall gender, race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation of justices and judges in the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, and trial courts;
  2. the gender of justices and judges by jurisdiction—for the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal by district, and trial courts by county;
  3. the race and ethnicity of justices and judges by jurisdiction;
  4. the specific race and ethnicity reported by those justices and judges who indicated that they are of more than one race or ethnicity;
  5. the gender identity and sexual orientation of justices and judges by jurisdiction; and
  6. a comparison of the current overall data on gender and race/ethnicity with the data from the reports of the last five years.

The data show an increase in the percentage of female appellate court justices and trial court judges in 2011. Women now represent 31.1 percent of the judiciary, compared to 27.1 percent in 2006, continuing a steady upward trend over the past six years.

The data also show changes over the past six years in the percentage of justices and judges reported in the following race and ethnicity categories:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native (0.4 percent in 2011 compared to 0.1 percent in 2006);
  • Asian (5.6 percent in 2011 compared to 4.4 percent in 2006);
  • Black or African American (5.7 percent in 2011 compared to 4.4 percent in 2006);
  • Hispanic or Latino (8.2 percent in 2011 compared to 6.3 percent in 2006);
  • Pacific Islander (0.2 percent in 2011 compared to 0.1 percent in 2006);
  • White (72.3 percent in 2011 compared to 70.1 percent in 2006);
  • Some Other Race (1.1 percent in 2011 compared to 0.2 percent in 2006);
  • More Than One Race (3.5 percent in 2011 compared to 4.4 percent in 2006); and
  • Information Not Provided (2.9 percent in 2011compared to 9.9 percent in 2006).

These changes reflect judicial retirements and other departures from the bench, new judicial appointments, and an increase in the number of trial court judges who have provided race/ethnicity information.

The additional data in this year’s report regarding gender identity and sexual orientation include the following percentages:

  • Heterosexual, 57.7 percent;
  • Lesbian, 1.1 percent;
  • Gay, 1.0 percent;
  • Bisexual, 0 percent;
  • Transgender, 0.06 percent; and
  • Information not provided, 40 percent.

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