A report by New York’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy noted a near 27% rise in federal and state judgeships occupied by women, with Vermont ranking first at almost 40% and Idaho raking last at 11.3%.
The Associated Press highlighted these findings, but noted that the report also shows that some judicial districts in the country still have virtually no females. Dina Refki, Executive Director of Rockefeller’s Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, said that while they were encouraged, “progress has been so slow and not consistent with the fact that we have enough women who are qualified to serve on the bench.” She also stated that even though the legal profession was once dominated by men, almost half of law school graduates now are women.
Albany lawyer Linda Clark said that she has had clients that were concerned that her gender would not give her the same standing in the court system where judges are predominately male, and that people want to know that the gender of the judge will not hurt them in court. On the other side, the Rockefeller report said “that having in office people who are representative of all segments of the population increases trust in the judiciary and the government.”
The source for the study’s data was the 2011 edition of the directory “The American Bench: Judges of the Nation.”