Judicial Economics and Demographics.

Author:Carter, David P.
Position::Letters - Letter to the editor
 
FREE EXCERPT

Why do black men make up 19 percent of the U.S. population but only 12 percent of state court judges? Why do white men make up 30 percent of the U.S. population but account for 58 percent of state court trial judges? Why do white women make up 31 percent of the U.S. population but account for only 22 percent of state court trial judges? Why do women of color make up 20 percent of the U.S. population but account for only 8 percent of state court trial judges?

Some answers? After navigating the appointment process and being appointed by the governor, the new trial judge must run for election in the next general election, which may entail substantial expense if facing an opponent still practicing law with little to lose except expenses that can be made up by existing income. The losing judge is off the bench and needs to start over as a lawyer. White female attorneys, male and female black attorneys, compared with white male lawyers, have historically bad luck running for judicial office either as sitting judges or practicing lawyers. In reality, any lawyer, male, female, white, black, or otherwise goes out on an economic limb when becoming a trial judge, because there is no judicial tenure. All the rules will not change economic reality and the fact that white voters make up 61 percent of the electorate.

DAVID P. CARTER...

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