San Francisco Superior Court Judges. California is the only state that collects data on minority representation, women's representation, and LGBTQIA+ representation on the bench. Source: Superior Court of California
This post is part of the Balanced Bench project, our ongoing project about representation in the state judiciary. Read our first post about why diversity on the state bench matters here.
In 2016, Tracey E. George and Albert H. Yoon, in conjunction with the American Constitution Society, published a study titled “The Gavel Gap” that found that 69.8% of state judges were men and 80.4% were white. In order to get this data, George, Yoon, and a team of research assistants spent over a year combing through federal court websites, press releases, newspapers, and other resources to create a database of over 10,000 state judges’ biographies. Despite this extensive effort, the finished database is still incomplete. They were unable to find data on the race of about 5% of judges. This database also excludes the nearly 20,000 judges who sit on local and special jurisdiction courts. Furthermore, the database also only reflects the makeup of the bench in 2014; many judges have inevitably retired or been voted out of office in the past four years.