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Judicial Diversity

The City Bar is committed to a judicial selection process that effectively promotes a diverse judiciary and ensures that a broad array of views and experiences are brought to the bench. Yet after reviewing a large variety of data, empirical studies and articles, we realized that the data did not allow us to conclude whether, on the statewide level, the appointive or elective system better promotes diversity. Despite this, it is clear that improvements must be made to one or both systems in order to achieve a more diverse bench.

The City Bar recommends the following suggestions for increasing diversity in our judiciary: Provide public financing for all judicial elections so that candidates are not barred due to financial considerations. The City Bar has also advocated for public financing so that judicial candidates are not forced to seek contributions – often large contributions – from the very lawyers and parties who appear before them, which only diminishes the public’s confidence in the judiciary as an impartial arbiter; Codify the requirements that screening commissions be independent and diverse and that the nominating authorities, when viewed as a whole, be diverse; Educate the public on the need for a diverse judiciary; Reduce the number of delegates to the judicial district convention in order for all candidates to be able to succeed with fewer votes and; For the appointive system, encourage the appointing authority to commit to the importance of diversity.