Document Type


Publication Title

Record of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York

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According to the most recent report of The New York Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, published in October 1992, out of a total of 1,129 judges, only 183 are female. It is clear women are under-represented in the judiciary. Decisive action is required in order to increase opportunities for women to become judges. In January 1992, Governor Cuomo's Task Force on Judicial Diversity ("the Task Force") issued its report. The Task Force strongly supported diversity and set forth compelling reasons why a diverse bench is in the public interest. The report reminded us that "diversity is vital because it is required by our constitutional and legal commitment to inclusiveness and be-cause it greatly improves the ability of the judiciary to fulfill its function. In particular, the report noted that diversity improves public confidence in the fairness of the justice system. It is important for the judiciary to resemble the diverse culture which it serves. Women currently comprise over 51 percent of the nation's population and 24.3 percent of the total lawyer population, yet comprise only 16.2 percent of this state's judiciary. By increasing the number of women serving on the bench the public would be reassured of the state's institutional commitment to combatting sex discrimination. In this sense, the legal system could serve as a wonderful model for other sectors of our community. But it also would improve the public perception of the quality and fairness of decisions rendered in our courts.