Monday, December 12, 2005

Will Corzine use quotas to fill the bench?

The Star-Ledger released the result of a study that shows 87 percent of the state's 439 trial, tax, appellate and Supreme Court jurists are white and 77 percent are men. Read about it here.

New Jersey has always had a tradition of keeping the state court bench about even when it comes to political ideology. For every Democrat appointed, a Republican is appointed -- regardless of what party controls the governor's office or the state senate.

Given the results of the the Star-Ledger study, will Gov-to-be Corzine abide by this tradition or will he seek to diversify the bench for the sake of numbers?

12/14/05 UPDATE (in response to the comment):

This is a pure numbers game, so let's not be so quick to play the "racist" card.

There are many very well qualified non-white Republicans who are members of the New Jersey bar. I think (and I am willing to bet $5 that I am right) that there are far greater numbers of very well qualified non-white Democrat men and women in the New Jersey bar. This conclusion is based on nothing more than that fact that non-whites (and I am using that term so that I can be as inclusive as possible) tend to be Democrats. From the beginning, then, there are fewer possible non-white Republican candidates for the bench (you must be a lawyer to become a judge in New Jersey). That number will decrease further because not every lawyer wants to be a judge (some don't want to take the pay cut, others may practice in a non-litigation area of the law, some may be too old, others may be too young, etc.).

In any attempt to diversify the bench, then, the Governor will have many more people to choose from coming out of his own party. Its numbers. You shouldn't read anything more into it than that.

For the record, I hope he does diversify the bench. I know a gay Republican member of the New Jersey bar that would be a great addition to the Superior Court.

"will Gov-to-be Corzine abide by this tradition or will he seek to diversify the bench for the sake of numbers?"

Are you implying that Corzine couldn't pick a diverse bench and still maintain the "tradition"? Sounds like some not so subtle racist undertones in your comments.
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