Peter Lynch, (Subrogation & Recovery, San Diego), Board Member of the National Association of Attorneys with Disabilities (NAAD), wrote a piece in the Guest Column section of the Los Angeles Daily Journal on the lack of representation of veterans and the disabled in the California court system.
In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1005, which requires data on disabled and veterans to be included in the annual demographic information on judicial appointments. In Peter's 2015 San Diego Daily Transcript article, Spokesperson for the governor, Evan Westrup, stated “the administration aims for a broad, experienced and diverse pool of applicants to fill a vacancy…any conclusions reached based on the data (2014) presents a very inaccurate picture.” However, the 2014 and 2015 statistics released by the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE Commission) refute Westrup’s comments.
The 2015 JNE Commission statistics shows out of the 243 applicants including 91 females and 152 males, the governor appointed 77 people - 28 females and 49 males. This 2015 data reveals a 31.6 percent chance of being appointed just by applying. In 2015, eight disabled and 12 veterans applied but none were appointed. Given this 31.6 percent chance of being appointed with the combined total of 20 disabled/veterans, at least six out of the 20 should have been appointed.
The 2014 statistics practically mirrors 2015. Out of the 229 people that applied - 93 females and 136 males, the governor appointed 28 females and 49 males equating to 77 appointees. This came to a 33.6 percent chance of being appointed just by applying. In total, 13 disabled/veteran applied and similarly, none were appointed given their 33.6 percent chance of being selected.
The JNE statistics show that disabled and veteran applicants are not receiving a fair share of judicial appointments. Those lack of appointments should be brought to the public’s attention. Peter explained “it is time to shine a bright light on these matters.”