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News Posted on March 5, 2014

Dean Johnson Interviewed on Judicial Diversity by KQED's California Report

Dean Kevin R. Johnson was interviewed on public radio station KQED's syndicated news program The California Report regarding the demographics of California's judiciary and the importance of diversity. Interviewer Scott Shafer asked Dean Johnson to comment on the findings of a recent report indicating that California's judiciary is not nearly as diverse as the state's population, with more than two-thirds of all judges in the state being white males.

Dean Johnson said that while gender and ethnicity should not be a "litmus test" for judicial appointments, a lack of diversity among judges can impact the public's view of the judiciary and its representativeness. "When justice appears to be meted out by unrepresentative judges, I think that there's a concern about the legitimacy of the results and the possible racial injustice of it all," he said.

Diversity of background and experience is especially important with regard to the California Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, where justices work together to make decisions, said Dean Johnson. "When you have a diverse court, just like when you have a diverse jury, the idea is that you have a better decision in the end bringing together a variety of perspectives, a variety of thoughts, a variety of ways of looking at the world."

Kevin R. Johnson is Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o studies at UC Davis School of Law. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of immigration law and policy, refugee law, and civil rights.

The California Report