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Beginning in May 2004, the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence ("SCJI") commissioned a research project intended to result in a single comprehensive database on judicial diversity in state courts of last resort, appellate level courts, and trial courts of general jurisdiction. Realizing that no such knowledge base had previously existed on a state level, the committee gathered detailed information on state judicial diversity, particularly as it relates to race/ethnicity, gender, methods of selection variables, and state population variables. The SCJI National Database on Judicial Diversity in State Courts represents a compilation of those findings on both a national and individual state level. SCJI modernized the site in 2007, and last updated the judicial data in June, 2010.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. Of the judges of color currently serving on state courts, what is the percentage of each racial or
    ethnic group?
  2. Of the judges of color currently serving on state courts, what is the percentage of each racial or
    ethnic group by gender?
  3. In each state, what is the percentage of minority judges by race/ethnicity?
  4. Nationwide, what is the percentage of minority judges by type of court?
  5. What methods are used most frequently to select minority judges for state courts?
  6. Nationwide, what is the geographic basis of selection for minority judges on state courts?

1. Of the judges of color currently serving on state courts, what is the percentage of each racial or ethnic group?

Race/Ethnicity Number Percentage
African American 769 53.55%
Asian Pacific Islander 157 10.93%
Hispanic American 408 28.41%
Native American 13 .91%
Other 89 6.2%
Total 1436 100 %

2. Of the judges of color currently serving on state courts, what is the percentage of each racial or ethnic group by gender?

Race/Ethnicity Male Female Total
African American 57.1% (378) 42.9% (284) 46.1002
Asian Pacific Islander 60.71% (85) 39.29% (55) 9.74930
Hispanic American 65.66% (239) 34.34% (125) 25.3481
Native American 75% (9) 25% (3) .83565
Other 73.75% (59) 26.25% (21) 5.5710
Total 61.8384 38.1615 100% (1436)

3. In each state, what is the percentage of minority judges by race/ethnicity?
Click here for individual state reports or see below for a quick breakdown.

State African American Asian/Pacific Islander Hispanic American Native American Other Total
Alabama 10 0 0 0 0 6% (163)
Alaska 0 1 0 0 0 2% (48)
Arizona 4 5 9 0 0 9% (201)
Arkansas 14 0 0 0 0 10% (139)
California 87 85 121 4 73 23% (1631)
Colorado 6 0 15 0 0 11% (186)
Connecticut 17 2 3 0 0 12% (184)
Delaware 3 0 0 0 0 10% (31)
District of Columbia 47 1 5 0 0 56% (95)
Florida 35 2 51 1 1 13% (668)
Georgia 24 0 0 0 0 11% (221)
Hawaii 0 23 0 0 6 67% (43)
Idaho 0 0 1 0 0 2% (51)
Illinois 102 7 26 0 0 14% (967)
Indiana 17 1 4 0 0 7% (320)
Iowa 5 1 0 0 0 3% (199)
Kansas 5 0 3 0 0 4% (188)
Kentucky 2 0 0 0 0 1% (160)
Louisiana 51 0 0 0 0 18% (291)
Maine 0 0 0 0 0 0% (24)
Maryland 32 0 1 0 0 19% (173)
Massachusetts 9 3 0 0 0 11% (112)
Michigan 21 0 4 0 0 10% (256)
Minnesota 13 3 1 3 1 7% (315)
Mississippi 11 0 0 0 0 16% (70)
Missouri 13 0 3 0 1 5% (373)
Montana 0 0 0 0 0 0% (68)
Nebraska 1 0 0 0 0 1% (143)
Nevada 2 1 2 0 1 8% (71)
New Hampshire 0 0 0 0 0 0% (31)
New Jersey 41 1 24 0 0 14% (483)
New Mexico 4 1 25 0 1 30% (103)
New York 48 5 23 0 0 16% (461)
North Carolina 9 0 0 1 0 8% (131)
North Dakota 0 0 0 0 0 0% (49)
Ohio 19 1 1 0 0 4% (470)
Oklahoma 7 0 0 1 0 3% (277)
Oregon 0 0 1 0 0 1% (191)
Pennsylvania 29 1 2 0 0 7% (470)
Rhode Island 0 0 0 0 0 0% (27)
South Carolina 6 0 0 0 0 9% (67)
South Dakota 0 0 0 1 0 2% (43)
Tennessee 14 0 0 0 0 8% (184)
Texas 23 3 77 1 4 19% (569)
Utah 1 4 1 1 0 8% (83)
Vermont 0 0 0 0 0 0% (34)
Virginia 18 0 0 0 0 11% (168)
Washington 11 5 1 0 1 8% (217)
West Virginia 1 0 0 0 0 3% (37)
Wisconsin 7 1 4 0 0 4% (269)
Wyoming 0 0 0 0 0 0% (29)
Total 769 157 408 13 89 1436
* The data for West Virginia was researched by the American Bar Association and supplemented by American Judicature Society ("AJS") research.
* Oregon did not participate in this process. Data for one appellate court justice was provided by AJS.
* In the District of Columbia, magistrate judges are part of the trial court of general jurisdiction. The magistrates are appointed by the Chief Judge of the trial court, and the process includes a citizen panel.

4. Nationwide, what is the percentage of minority judges by type of court?

Type of Court African American Asian/Pacific Islander Hispanic American Native American Other Total
Court of Last Resort 9%
(32)
1%
(4)
3%
(10)
0%
(0)
0%
(1)
47
Intermediate Appellate Level Court 8%
(75)
1%
(13)
4%
(34)
0%
(1)
1%
(8)
131
Trial Court of General Jurisdiction 7%
(662)
2%
(140)
4%
(364)
0%
(12)
1%
(80)
1258
Total 769 157 408 13 89 1436

5. What methods are used most frequently to select minority judges for state courts?

Method of Selection Percent
GA with Commission 9 % (132)
GA with or without Commission or with some form of Legislative Approval 13 % (192)
General Jurisdiction Trial Court Appointment 0 % (2)
Gubernatorial Appointment (GA) 26 % (375)
Legislative Election 2 % (33)
Nonpartisan Election 17 % (244)
Partisan Election 32 % (456)
Supreme Court Appointment 0 % (6)
* The appointment may be with or without a nominating commission. Therefore the total in this report will be higher than the total number of judges in the database.

6. Nationwide, what is the geographic basis of selection for minority judges on state courts?

Geographic Basis of Selection Percent
Circuit 14% (202)
County 38% (539)
District 23% (329)
Statewide 6% (80)
Subcircuits/Subdistricts 8% (108)