Starting in 2007, California has required some degree of information and disclosure regarding those who apply to fill a judicial vacancies. Under a new bill introduced in the Assembly, the type of demographic data collected would be expanded.
First, some background.
SB 56 of 2006 requires an annual, aggregated report from three different groups regarding judicial selection starting March 1, 2007
- from the governor, who appoints the judges
- from the state bar, who evaluates applicants
- from state administrative office of the courts, regarding the judges currently sitting in the state
The data was focused under SB 56 of 2006 to two primary categories: the ethnicity and gender of the appointee/applicant/judge.
Under AB 159 of 2007, the data collected was expanded to ethnicity, race, gender. In addition, the state bar was to release information on applicants’ areas of legal practice and employment.
SB 182 of 2012 expanded the data collected further: ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, plus areas of legal practice and employment for the state bar data.
The latest data collection expansion is AB 1005 of 2013 which would require disclosure of data in the aggregate regarding disability (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act) and veteran status as defined under federal law (38 U.S.C. 101(2)) of the appointees/applicant/judges.
AB 1005 is currently pending in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.