Pathways to Judicial Diversity
A Judicial Council Initiative to Promote Diversity on the Bench

Judicial Diversity in the News

Image of Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

Chief Justice Responds to Violence Against Asians and Asian Americans

March 19, 2021 | California Courts Newsroom
California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye today issued the following statement on recent violent attacks against Asians and Asian Americans: “Anti-Asian violence, like any violence based on prejudice, bias, or fear of the other is reprehensible.” 

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Mentoring Program Aims to Increase Diversity of Judge Applicants

March 5, 2021 | California Courts Newsroom
New Judicial Mentorship Program in Los Angeles County seeks to accelerate the diversity of the bench by connecting judges with attorneys interested in judgeships. More than 200 local attorneys have already signed up since the Los Angeles County Superior Court launched its program in October. The response was immediate and overwhelming. "Nearly every judge in the county wants to be a mentor," Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor said.

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California Bench Growing More Diverse

March 1, 2021 | California Courts Newsroom
As of December 31, 2020, female judicial officers constitute 37.6% of judicial officers across all court levels, a slight increase over the prior year and an increase of more than 10 percentage points since 2006—the first year that data were collected for this purpose. The bench also has continued to become more racially and ethnically diverse. The proportion of white judicial officers has declined about 5 percentage points since 2006, while the percentage of Asian, Black, and Hispanic judicial officers has nearly doubled over the same time period.

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Commission Confirms Appointment to Court of Appeal

January 14, 2020 | California Courts Newsroom
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, chair of the Commission on Judicial Appointments, announced the commission today unanimously confirmed Judge Truc T. Do as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One (San Diego).

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Justice Martin J. Jenkins Confirmed to California Supreme Court

November 10, 2020 | California Courts Newsroom
Praised for his "brilliant intellect, first-class temperament, and boundless humanity," Justice Jenkins makes history as the first openly gay justice and third African American man to serve on the state’s highest court. See photos and video of the confirmation hearing.

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Governor Newsom Selects Justice Martin Jenkins (Ret.) for California Supreme Court

October 5, 2020 | Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
A highly regarded jurist, Justice Martin Jenkins (Ret.) has been appointed to judgeships throughout his storied career. Justice Jenkins would be the first openly gay and third Black man to serve on the California Supreme Court. Justice Jenkins has served as Judicial Appointments Secretary to Governor Newsom since 2019.

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Superior Court Forms Committee To Eliminate Courtroom Bias

August 21, 2020 | City News Service
"We are committed to providing equal access to justice for all regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability or socio-economic status," said Superior Court Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne. "My expectation is this committee will seize this opportunity to promote education, confront injustices and alleviate racial disparities throughout the legal system."

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Ethics Committee Advises Caution for Judges Attending Protests

July 24, 2020 | ABA Journal
In its July 20 opinion, the Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions said although judges might feel morally obligated to support racial justice and equality by participating in demonstrations and rallies in their communities, they have a duty to promote the public’s confidence in an impartial justice system.

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Courts Had an Ethical Obligation to Speak Out After George Floyd’s Death

June 19, 2020 | Law.com
Canon 2A of the Code of Conduct provides judges with an express mandate to act in ways “that promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” The courts that have spoken up after the killing of George Floyd have made explicit reference to that responsibility.

Image for Supreme Court of California Issues Statement on Equality and Inclusion

Supreme Court of California Issues Statement on Equality and Inclusion

June 11, 2020 | California Courts Newsroom
“In view of recent events in our communities and through the nation, we are at an inflection point in our history. It is all too clear that the legacy of past injustices inflicted on African Americans persists powerfully and tragically to this day. Each of us has a duty to recognize there is much unfinished and essential work that must be done to make equality and inclusion an everyday reality for all.”

Image for West Justice Center to Be Named After First Asian American Orange County Superior Court Judge S. K. Tamura

West Justice Center to Be Named After First Asian American Orange County Superior Court Judge S. K. Tamura

June 10, 2020 | California Courts Newsroom
Stephen K. Tamura’s name will grace Orange County Superior Court’s West Justice Center to honor the late judge’s legacy of groundbreaking successes and to serve as recognition of the contributions of Asian Americans to Orange County and the United States. Judge Tamura was the first Asian American attorney in Orange County, the first Asian American to serve as county counsel in Orange County, the first Asian American superior court judge and presiding judge in Orange County, and the first Asian American justice on an appellate court in the continental United States. During his time on the appellate court, he also served as Justice Pro Tempore on the California Supreme Court until his retirement.

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Governor Newsom Appoints 14 Superior Court Judges

April 28, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the appointment of 14 California superior court judges, which include two in Alameda County, three in Los Angeles County, two in Orange County, two in Sacramento County, one in San Bernardino County, two in San Mateo County, one in Santa Clara County and one in Yolo County.

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California Bench Growing More Diverse

March 2, 2020 | California Courts Newsroom
For the 14th straight year, California’s judicial bench has grown more diverse, according to new data released by the Judicial Council. During his first year in office, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s appointments increased the diversity of the California bench. Of his 16 appointments, 11 were women and nine were non-white. That builds on the nearly 200 appointments former Gov. Jerry Brown made in his final year in office (2018); women accounted for more than half of those appointees, and 41% identified as non-white.

Image for Commission Confirms Judge Teri L. Jackson, as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District

Commission Confirms Judge Teri L. Jackson, as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District

January 22, 2020 | California Courts Newsroom
Judge Jackson was the first African-American woman confirmed to the First Appellate District after also becoming the first African-American woman appointed to the San Francisco County Superior Court in 2002.

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Justice Ming Chin to Retire from California Supreme Court

January 15, 2020 | California Courts Newsroom
Justice Chin, the court’s first Chinese-American justice and longest-sitting member announced his retirement from the Supreme Court effective August 31, 2020.

Image for Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to be Keynote Speaker at Law Day 2020, Co-sponsored by Monterey County Superior Court

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to be Keynote Speaker at Law Day 2020, Co-sponsored by Monterey County Superior Court

January 14, 2020 | Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
An event for high school and college students to learn about careers in the legal profession and the Law Day Theme: Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.

Image for Governor Newsom Nominates First African-American Woman to Serve on First District Court of Appeal

Governor Newsom Nominates First African-American Woman to Serve on First District Court of Appeal

November 19, 2019 | Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
Governor Gavin Newsom today announced his historic nomination of Judge Teri L. Jackson as associate justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division Three. If confirmed, Judge Jackson will be the first African-American woman justice in the court’s history.

Image for Governor Newsom’s First Superior Court Appointments Filled With 8 Women Judges of 11 Vacancies

Governor Newsom’s First Superior Court Appointments Filled With 8 Women Judges of 11 Vacancies

October 25, 2019 | Law.com
Gov. Gavin Newsom named 11 judges to the Superior Court on October 25, 2019. Women dominated the governor's first round of Superior Court appointees, with new female judges netting eight of the open judgeships.

Image for Monterey County Superior Court Judicial Officers Partner with Local K-12 Schools for Constitution Day 2019

Monterey County Superior Court Judicial Officers Partner with Local K-12 Schools for Constitution Day 2019.

September 26, 2019 | Superior Court of California, County of Monterey and Monterey County Office of Education
Between 9/16 and 9/27, 10 judicial officers will have visited 16 schools and presented to approx. 1,400 5th grade students in Monterey County.

Image for The Santa Clara Superior Court Bench Reaches Gender Parity

The Santa Clara Superior Court Bench Reaches Gender Parity

September 13, 2019 | Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara
The Santa Clara Superior Court has achieved gender parity; as of August 2019, the Superior Court Bench seats 39 female and 39 male judicial officers - making our Court one of the few across California to represent both genders equally at the trial court level. Increasing the diversity of California's judicial officers to reflect the rich diversity of California's populace continues to be a top priority for both the Judicial Council of California and Santa Clara Superior Court.

Image for Video: Justice Judith McConnell Among Recipients of the 2019 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards

Video: Justice Judith McConnell Among Recipients of the 2019 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards

August 13, 2019 | California Courts Newsroom
The ABA Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established in 1991, honors outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty and have paved the way for others. It is sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.

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California Has Most Diverse Supreme Court in the U.S., According to Report

July 23, 2019 | San Francisco Chronicle
California is only one of five states to have a supreme court bench where the percentage of people of color (71%) is higher than their representation in the state’s population as a whole (63%).

Image for In Historic Move, Governor Newsom Makes Judicial Selection Advisory Committees Public

In Historic Move, Governor Newsom Makes Judicial Selection Advisory Committees Public

June 26, 2019 | Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
In keeping with his commitment to increase transparency in government, Governor Gavin Newsom made public eight Regional Judicial Selection Advisory Committees (JSACs). The JSACs – comprised of attorneys and judges who live and work in the eight regions – will provide preliminary, non-partisan feedback on candidates and help promote a diverse and inclusive nomination process for California’s judiciary.

Image for California’s First Muslim Judge and Justice Profiled on PBS NewsHour

California’s First Muslim Judge and Justice Profiled on PBS NewsHour

December 30, 2018 | PBS NewsHour
Justice Halim Dhanidina was recently elevated to California’s Courts of Appeal, making him the state’s most senior judge of Muslim faith. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent David Tereshchuk talks with Dhanidina about engaging with supporters and critics alike, and setting an example for what it looks like to be a "Muslim judge" in the United States.