Today, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and State Senator Luis R. Sepulveda (D-Bronx), chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Judicial Diversity, introduced S7703, legislation requiring the Office of Court Administration (OCA) to collect, compile and publish an annual report on the demographic information about New York’s judges and justices.
Senator Hoylman said: “It’s a detriment to our judicial system that there are parts of the state where there are virtually no judges of color and few women on the bench. To begin to fully understand and remedy this problem, Senator Sepulveda and I have introduced legislation modeled after California that would require the New York Office of Court Administration to collect demographic information about the composition of the bench, including ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability status. In order for New Yorkers to continue to have confidence in the judiciary, we need to ensure that the diversity of our judges reflect the rich diversity of our state’s population.”
Senator Sepulveda said: “To be truly just, our judicial system must include the voices and perspectives of all communities it affects. For too long New York State’s broad diversity has not been reflected in its judiciary, perpetuating systems of inequality and marginalization. As Chair of the Subcommittee on Judicial Diversity, I commend and am grateful for Senator Hoylman’s leadership as Chair of the Judiciary Committee in prioritizing true diversity, and am proud to co-sponsor this legislation as a meaningful step towards that in New York.”
In the judicial system, increased diversity helps ensure impartiality 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.