Bad Bill Alert!
HB 93: Judicial Nominating Process Amendments (Rep. Nelson) would remove diversity from the list of factors to consider for judicial appointments in Utah. The pool of judges currently serving is not proportionately reflective of Utah’s culture in terms of representation of women and racial and ethnic diversity. Simply increasing diversity in legal professions will not “naturally” solve this problem. To have trust in the legal system, it is important that members of under-represented groups know that when they are summoned to court, the pool of judges who may potentially hear their case has the same chance of sharing similar background, heritage, or life experiences as anyone else who may go through the system.
The Dean of the University of Utah Law School, Robert W. Adler, opposes HB 93 (see his op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribunehere). Among the reasons are his arguments that Utah judges are disproportionately white and male, that HB 93 could actually disincentivize more diverse, qualified students from studying the law in Utah (making the representation gap wider, not fixing it “naturally” as legislators propose), and that diversity of judges increases the legitimacy of justice in the eyes of the public.
Adler is not the only one who believes HB 93 is bad policy. This morning the Salt Lake Tribune published the article, “Gehrke: Lawmaker’s crusade against diversity threatens legitimacy of Utah courts.” The Utah State Bar Association took the rare step of publicly opposing HB 93 and encouraging lawyers across the state to do the same, saying the current system works. The CCJJ and the ACLU also oppose this measure.
HB 93 will be voted on by the House of Representatives within the next few days. Let’s let our legislators know that HB 93 is no good for Utah.
CALL TO ACTION
- Email or text your state representative and ask them to oppose HB 93: Judicial Nominating Process Amendments. Be sure to state that you are a constituent. Use the subject line “No on HB 93 – Judicial Nominating Process Amendments.” Find your state representative by clicking here.
- Let us know you took action by commenting here or on our Facebook page. Please tell us how your legislators respond!
TIPS for contacting your state legislator:
- Keep your email or text very short — 2-3 sentences at the most. Get right to the point, starting in the subject line of the email.
- Emails and texts are more effective than calls for contacting state legislators because of their limited staff.
- ALWAYS mention if you are a constituent. Please contact your own legislator only unless you are contacting committee members hearing a bill.
- Always use the full bill name. Legislators are juggling hundreds of bills and won’t always know bills by their number.