Lambda Legal Urges Governor-Elect Brown to Appoint Unbiased, Diverse Judges
"We hope the governor will scrutinize every candidate's record carefully to ensure that California's Constitution and laws are enforced so as to protect all Californians equally."
(Los Angeles, December 30, 2010)—Lambda Legal has sent a letter to Governor-Elect Jerry Brown urging him to scrutinize closely the judicial philosophies of those he appoints as state court judges and to add greater diversity to the bench.
The three-page letter, mailed today, calls on the governor-elect to appoint only judges who will rule fairly and impartially, particularly in cases involving LGBT and HIV-positive individuals. It explains why judges must not only abide by landmark legal precedents recognizing the rights of LGBT individuals, but must also follow the principles of equal protection and fairness underlying those decisions. These precedents include the constitutional requirement that anti-gay laws be tested against the most rigorous level of judicial scrutiny, the right to privacy that applies to both same-sex and different-sex relationships, and the right to be treated equally across a wide variety of settings regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.
The letter also reminds Brown that in the nearly three decades since he appointed the first openly lesbian and gay nominees to the state bench during his previous term as governor, a number of administrations following his "did not follow your course. As a result, openly [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] individuals, people of color and women are underrepresented at all levels of the state judiciary. We call on you to appoint other qualified LGBT judges, as well as other underrepresented minorities."
"California has a better record than most states in making sure its judges are fair-minded and that they reflect the diversity of the state as a whole," said Jon W. Davidson, Legal Director of Lambda Legal. "We've seen political efforts in other states to pack the courts with anti-gay ideologues and to strip the robe off any fair-minded jurist willing to treat LGBT people equally. That stacking of the deck against LGBT people undermines the fundamental principle of equal justice that is the bedrock of our nation. We hope the governor will scrutinize every candidate's record carefully to ensure that California's Constitution and laws are enforced so as to protect all Californians equally."
To see a copy of the letter and the landmark cases it cites, go to www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/ltr_ca-gov-brown_20101230_apponitments-to-ca-judiciary.html.
Contact: Tom Warnke; 213-382-7600 ex 247;firstname.lastname@example.org
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.