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ARTICLE 2 - Powers and Duties | Califonrnia Government Code - GOV | Section 12011.5.

12011.5. (a) In the event of a vacancy in a judicial office to be filled by appointment of the Governor, or in the event that a declaration of candidacy is not filed by a judge and the Governor is required under subdivision (d) of Section 16 of Article VI of the California Constitution to nominate a candidate, the Governor shall first submit to a designated agency of the State Bar of California the names of all potential appointees or nominees for the judicial office for evaluation of their judicial qualifications.

(b) The membership of the designated agency of the State Bar responsible for evaluation of judicial candidates shall consist of attorney members and public members with the ratio of public members to attorney members determined, to the extent practical, by the ratio established in Section 6013.5 of the Business and Professions Code. It is the intent of this subdivision that the designated agency of the State Bar responsible for evaluation of judicial candidates shall be broadly representative of the ethnic, gender, and racial diversity of the population of California and composed in accordance with Sections 11140 and 11141. The further intent of this subdivision is to establish a selection process for membership on the designated agency of the State Bar responsible for evaluation of judicial candidates under which no member of that agency shall provide inappropriate, multiple representation for purposes of this subdivision. Each member of the designated agency of the State Bar responsible for evaluation of judicial candidates shall complete a minimum of 60 minutes of training in the areas of fairness and bias in the judicial appointments process at an orientation for new members. If the member serves more than one term, the member shall complete an additional 60 minutes of that training during the member s service on the designated agency of the State Bar responsible for evaluation of judicial candidates.

(c) Upon receipt from the Governor of the names of candidates for judicial office and their completed personal data questionnaires, the State Bar shall use appropriate confidential procedures to evaluate and determine the qualifications of each candidate with regard to his or her ability to discharge the judicial duties of the office to which the appointment or nomination shall be made. Within 90 days of submission by the Governor of the name of a potential appointee for judicial office, the State Bar shall report, in confidence, to the Governor its recommendation whether the candidate is exceptionally well qualified, well qualified, qualified, or not qualified and the reasons therefor, and may report, in confidence, other information as the State Bar deems pertinent to the qualifications of the candidate.

(d) In determining the qualifications of a candidate for judicial office, the State Bar shall consider, among other appropriate factors, his or her industry, judicial temperament, honesty, objectivity, community respect, integrity, health, ability, and legal experience. The State Bar shall consider legal experience broadly, including, but not limited to, litigation and nonlitigation experience, legal work for a business or nonprofit entity, experience as a law professor or other academic position, legal work in any of the three branches of government, and legal work in dispute resolution.

(e) The State Bar shall establish and promulgate rules and procedures regarding the investigation of the qualifications of candidates for judicial office by the designated agency. These rules and procedures shall establish appropriate, confidential methods for disclosing to the candidate the subject matter of substantial and credible adverse allegations received regarding the candidate s health, physical or mental condition, or moral turpitude that, unless rebutted, would be determinative of the candidate s unsuitability for judicial office. No provision of this section shall be construed as requiring that a rule or procedure be adopted that permits the disclosure to the candidate of information from which the candidate may infer the source, and no information shall either be disclosed to the candidate nor be obtainable by any process that would jeopardize the confidentiality of communications from persons whose opinion has been sought on the candidate s qualifications.

(f) All communications, written, verbal, or otherwise, of and to the Governor, the Governor s authorized agents or employees, including, but not limited to, the Governor s Legal Affairs Secretary and Appointments Secretary, or of and to the State Bar in furtherance of the purposes of this section are absolutely privileged from disclosure and confidential, and any communication made in the discretion of the Governor or the State Bar with a candidate or person providing information in furtherance of the purposes of this section shall not constitute a waiver of the privilege or a breach of confidentiality.

(g) If the Governor has appointed a person to a trial court who has been found not qualified by the designated agency, the State Bar may make public this fact after due notice to the appointee of its intention to do so, but that notice or disclosure shall not constitute a waiver of privilege or breach of confidentiality with respect to communications of or to the State Bar concerning the qualifications of the appointee.

(h) If the Governor has nominated or appointed a person to the Supreme Court or court of appeal in accordance with subdivision (d) of Section 16 of Article VI of the California Constitution, the Commission on Judicial Appointments may invite, or the State Bar s governing board or its designated agency may submit to the commission, its recommendation, and the reasons therefor, but that disclosure shall not constitute a waiver of privilege or breach of confidentiality with respect to communications of or to the State Bar concerning the qualifications of the nominee or appointee.

(i) A person or entity shall not be liable for an injury caused by an act or failure to act, be it negligent, intentional, discretionary, or otherwise, in the furtherance of the purposes of this section, including, but not limited to, providing or receiving information, making recommendations, and giving reasons therefor. As used in this section, the term State Bar means its governing board and members thereof, the designated agency of the State Bar and members thereof, and employees and agents of the State Bar.

(j) At any time prior to the receipt of the report from the State Bar specified in subdivision (c) the Governor may withdraw the name of a person submitted to the State Bar for evaluation pursuant to this section.

(k) A candidate for judicial office shall not be appointed until the State Bar has reported to the Governor pursuant to this section, or until 90 days have elapsed after submission of the candidate s name to the State Bar, whichever occurs earlier. The requirement of this subdivision shall not apply to a vacancy in judicial office occurring within the 90 days preceding the expiration of the Governor s term of office, provided, however, that with respect to those vacancies and with respect to nominations pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 16 of Article VI of the California Constitution, the Governor shall be required to submit any candidate s name to the State Bar in order to provide an opportunity, if time permits, to make an evaluation.

(l) Nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing an additional requirement for an appointment or nomination to judicial office, nor shall anything in this section be construed as adding additional qualifications for the office of a judge.

(m) The Board of Governors of the State Bar shall not conduct or participate in, or authorize a committee, agency, employee, or commission of the State Bar to conduct or participate in, an evaluation, review, or report on the qualifications, integrity, diligence, or judicial ability of any specific justice of a court provided for in Section 2 or 3 of Article VI of the California Constitution without prior review and statutory authorization by the Legislature, except an evaluation, review, or report on potential judicial appointees or nominees as authorized by this section.

The provisions of this subdivision shall not be construed to prohibit a member of the State Bar from conducting or participating in an evaluation, review, or report in his or her individual capacity.

(n) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, but subject to paragraph (2), on or before March 1 of each year for the prior calendar year, all of the following shall occur:

(A) The Governor shall collect and release, on an aggregate statewide basis, all of the following:

(i) Demographic data provided by all judicial applicants relative to ethnicity, race, disability, veteran status, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

(ii) Demographic data relative to ethnicity, race, disability, veteran status, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation as provided by all judicial applicants, both as to those judicial applicants who have been and those who have not been submitted to the State Bar for evaluation.

(iii) Demographic data relative to ethnicity, race, disability, veteran status, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation of all judicial appointments or nominations as provided by the judicial appointee or nominee.

(B) The designated agency of the State Bar responsible for evaluation of judicial candidates shall collect and release both of the following on an aggregate statewide basis:

(i) Statewide demographic data provided by all judicial applicants reviewed relative to ethnicity, race, disability, veteran status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and areas of legal practice and employment.

(ii) The statewide summary of the recommendations of the designated agency of the State Bar by ethnicity, race, disability, veteran status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and areas of legal practice and employment.

(C) The Administrative Office of the Courts shall collect and release the demographic data provided by justices and judges described in Article VI of the California Constitution relative to ethnicity, race, disability, veteran status, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation by specific jurisdiction.

(2) For purposes of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1), in the year following a general election or recall election that will result in a new Governor taking office prior to March 1, the departing Governor shall provide all of the demographic data collected for the year by that Governor pursuant to this subdivision to the incoming Governor. The incoming Governor shall then be responsible for releasing the provided demographic data, and the demographic data collected by that incoming Governor, if any, prior to the March 1 deadline imposed pursuant to this subdivision.

(3) Demographic data disclosed or released pursuant to this subdivision shall disclose only aggregated statistical data and shall not identify any individual applicant, justice, or judge.

(4) The State Bar and the Administrative Office of the Courts shall use the following ethnic and racial categories: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, White, some other race, and more than one race, as those categories are defined by the United States Census Bureau for the 2010 Census for reporting purposes.

(5) Demographic data disclosed or released pursuant to this subdivision shall also indicate the percentage of respondents who declined to respond.

(6) For purposes of this subdivision, the collection of demographic data relative to disability and veteran status shall be required only for judicial applicants, candidates, appointees, nominees, justices, and judges who apply, or are reviewed, appointed, nominated, or elected, on or after January 1, 2014. The release of this demographic data shall begin in 2015.

(7) For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the following meanings:

(A) Disability includes mental disability and physical disability, as defined in subdivisions (j) and (m) of Section 12926.

(B) Veteran status has the same meaning as specified in Section 101(2) of Title 38 of the United States Code.

(o) The Governor and members of judicial selection advisory committees are encouraged to give particular consideration to candidates from diverse backgrounds and cultures reflecting the demographics of California, including candidates with demographic characteristics underrepresented among existing judges and justices.

(p) If any provision of this section other than a provision relating to or providing for confidentiality or privilege from disclosure of any communication or matter, or the application of the provision to any person or circumstances, is held invalid, the remainder of this section, to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of the provision to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this extent the provisions of this section are severable. If any other act of the Legislature conflicts with the provisions of this section, this section shall prevail.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 71, Sec. 71. Effective January 1, 2015.)

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Last modified: July 19, 2016