How many state supreme court justices are people of color? Judiciary doesn't reflect population, report says

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Only 17% of justices on state supreme courts are Black, Latino, Asian American or Native American, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

The figure is far below the percentage of people of color in the U.S. population, which stands at 40%, according to the report. But it is two percentage points higher than in 2019, when 15% of justices were people of color.

In 22 states, no justices identify as a person of color.

The report also found:

• Women have 39% of state supreme court seats. That’s three percentage points higher than in 2019, when 36% of high court justices were women. In 12 states, only one woman is on the state supreme court bench.

• Thirty-seven percent of sitting justices are former prosecutors, compared to only 7% who are former public defenders.

• Eighty-one percent of state supreme court justices have been in private practice, the most common experience. Only 2% of justices have worked in civil legal aid.

The report says there has been little change in court demographics since the Brennan Center last collected data in February 2020. Out of 41 new justices, 30 are white, including 17 men and 13 women.

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