PRBA TASK FORCE ON THE JUDICIARY
A CALL FOR ACTION
New York, New York – The Puerto Rican Bar Association has organized a Task Force on the Judiciary to examine the lack of representation of Puerto Ricans and Latinos on the bench. The PRBA Calls For Action to ensure that there is TRUE Diversity and Inclusion in the Judiciary and the Judicial Selection Process in New York State.
The Puerto Rican Bar Association – Task Force on the Judiciary – will examine, inspect and evaluate the lack of Puerto Ricans and Latinos on the bench in New York State. We are outraged that for the past two (2) years there have not been any candidates of Puerto Rican and/or Latino background that have come out of the Judicial Committees from the Manhattan, Kings, Queens and Staten Island. Puerto Ricans and Latinos are not fairly represented in the New York Judiciary despite the large population of Puerto Rican and Latino communities in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The PRBA will hold public hearings to address the underrepresentation of Puerto Ricans and Hispanics on the bench. Where necessary the PRBA will have monitors to review the process and request that the appropriate government agencies including the United States Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission review the disparity in the Judicial Selection process to determine if violations of Constitutional rights have resulted. The PRBA has fought difficult battles to ensure that there is diversity on the bench yet it appears that the need for “Diversity and Inclusion” is not being honored. The process needs to be examined and evaluated due to the disparate impact that has resulted.
The Puerto Rican Bar Association also joins with all of the organizations who expressed their profound outrage to the failure of the New York County Democratic Committee Independent Judicial Screening Panel to approve Judge Doris Ling-Cohan for the New York Supreme Court. Judge Ling-Cohan, the first Asian American Female Judge in New York and a longtime PRBA member. The Puerto Rican Bar Association was founded in 1957 and is one of the oldest minority bar associations in New York. We will continue to endeavor to ensure that Puerto Ricans, and all Latinos, are adequately represented in the legal profession so that the Puerto Rican and Latino Communities will continue to have a voice regarding New York State laws and policies.