Electing Judges - The Diversity Issue

Another argument made in support of continuing Judicial Conventions and not having Primaries choose candidates for State Supreme Court Justice has to do with diversity on the bench. Just a few days ago, a Democratic Party activist told me he believed that if Primaries picked them, there would never be another Black or Hispanic Supreme Court Justice elected in Manhattan.

To try to determine how true that is, I decided to look at Countywide Primaries for judgeships in the last 10 years since the Supreme Court Districts in New York City are the same as the 5 counties (except that Brooklyn and Staten Island are a combined district for Supreme Court).

We can’t do an exact comparison because there has not been any Countywide Democratic Primaries for Civil Court in Queens or Staten Island in the last decade and only one in Manhattan. So to add to the mix I added in the Primaries for Surrogate since they are also elected Countywide. It’s not perfect but I think there has been enough history to tell us something about ethnic considerations Primary voters for judge.

2006

Brooklyn Civil Court

2 Black women won

2 Black women lost

2 White men lost

2005

Brooklyn Civil Court

1 Black woman won

2 Black women lost

Brooklyn Surrogate

1 Hispanic woman won

1 Black woman lost

1 White man lost

Manhattan Surrogate

1 White woman won

1 White Woman lost

2004

Brooklyn Civil Court

1 Black man won

1 Hispanic woman won

1 White man won

4 White men lost

2 White women lost

Bronx Civil Court

1 White man won

1 Black man lost

2003

Brooklyn Civil Court

1 Black woman won

1 Hispanic woman lost

2002

Brooklyn Civil Court

1 Black woman won

1 Hispanic woman lost

2 White women lost

2001

Brooklyn Civil Court

1 White woman won

1 White man won

2 White men lost

1998

Brooklyn Civil Court

1 White woman won

1 White man lost

Bronx Civil Court

1 White woman won

1 White man lost

1997

Brooklyn Civil Court

1 White woman won

1 White man lost

Manhattan Civil Court

1 Hispanic man won

1 White man lost

Bronx Civil Court

1 Black woman won

1 White man lost

The final numbers are of 16 winners,  12 were women, 6 were Black, 3 were Hispanic, and 7 were White.