NEW YORK -- Today, Governor Cuomo signed into law legislation (S.7703/A.10702) authored by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Latoya Joyner and co-sponsored by Senator Luis Sepulveda that will require the Office of Court Administration (OCA) to collect, compile and publish an annual report on the demographic makeup of New York’s judges.
According to a recent report by an independent commission on equal justice in New York State Courts, New York City has a population that is approximately 31.7% white, 24.2% Black, 26.3% Latinx, and 14.1% Asian. However, New York City judges are 58.1% white, 21.5% Black, 12.4% Latinx, and 6.3% Asian. Regular reporting of such information will help the public and policymakers better understand the degree to which New York’s judiciary is reflective of its people, and inform efforts to increase diversity in our courts.
Senator Hoylman said: “Our courts should reflect the diversity of our state, but policymakers lack a complete picture of the demographics of our judiciary. To begin to fully understand and remedy this problem, I passed a law alongside Senator Luis Sepulveda and Assembly Member Latoya Joyner to require the Office of Court Administration to collect demographic information about the composition of the bench, including ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability status. I am extraordinarily grateful to Governor Cuomo for signing it into law today.”
In the judicial system, increased diversity helps ensure impartial outcomes and builds public confidence in the justice system. This new legislation would require the Office of Court Administration to publish an annual report on judicial diversity, which includes demographic information about the race/ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, and disability status of New York’s judges and justices.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New York is one of the most diverse states in the nation. Current population trends indicate the diversity of the state will continue to grow, reflecting New York’s history as a welcoming destination for people of all backgrounds.