Chang Calls for More LGBT Representation in California Judiciary

Writing on behalf of the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), Shook, Hardy & Bacon Senior Associate Andrew Chang has co-authored commentary in LGBT Weekly focusing on the lack of LGBT individuals in the state and federal judiciary. According to the California LGBT Judicial Coalition, which cites self-reported data gathered from justices, judges and applicants, the recent appointment of five self-identified LGBT judges and justices has only kept pace with the number of openly LGBT judges who have left the California judiciary. As the article explains, "The judiciary in California does not reflect its LGBT population… At the local level, 45 of California’s 58 counties do not have any self-identified LGBT judges. In other words, the LGBT community is not represented in the judiciary in 78% of the counties in California."

"The limited representation of open LGBT judges on the bench affects both LGBTs’ and the public’s perception of LGBTs in society," conclude the authors. "[W]e must recognize the role the support and mentorship from our LGBT leaders, attorneys, and judges plays in increasing LGBT representation in the judiciary and in exploring ways to publicize that support. Direct mentorship is not always the most far-reaching method to increase diversity, especially in the historically closeted LGBT population. Sometimes, mere exposure to successful, openly LGBT judges is sufficient to inspire the path to judgeship."