Imagine sitting down to fill out a job application and being confronted with questions about your sexual orientation. Not just any job application, but one that could result in your elevation to one of the most important and influential posts in our society — that of a judge. Bizarre? You bet. But the reality? Yep. Where is this taking place? California, of course.
As a result of the “Judicial Applicant and Appointment Demographics Inclusion Act,” passed by the California legislature last year, judges in the Golden State are being requested to provide information on their “race/ethnicity, gender identification and sexual orientation.” This truly is affirmative action and political correctness run amok.
A state official told The Weekly Standard recently that the new survey questions simply “address concerns that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was not appointing enough women and minorities to the bench.” The data gathered as a result of this intrusive questionnaire apparently will be used when seeking support for new judgeships in the legislature. As noted by Fox News, those who support adding more gay, lesbian and transgendered persons to the judiciary in California consider this sort of prying “essential [to] creating a more diverse judiciary.”
In the business world, affirmative action laws — long demanded by politically correct politicians — inject a degree of arbitrariness and irrelevancy that is extremely problematic and costly for employers. However, when such mandates are injected into the process of selecting judges, and especially when the probing enters the realm of the most private of a person’s views and activities, the problems are compounded greatly.
A judgeship is not an ordinary job. Independence, fair-mindedness and knowledge of the law are keys to upholding the rule of law and maintaining a high degree of credibility in our court system. Other factors, such as one’s sexual orientation are, and should remain, utterly irrelevant.
Supporters of the law have dismissed concerns about privacy by pointing out there is no “requirement” to answer the sexual-orientation questions; and in fact, many have chosen not to divulge such personal information. According to The Washington Times, 40% of California’s 1,600 judges declined to answer the question regarding their sexual preference. Still, the fact that judges and judicial aspirants are even being asked such questions — and the negative implications that might be drawn from refusing to answer — is troubling, to say the least. In fact, it is beyond the pale.
Hopefully the judiciary, not only in California but across the country, will demand a quick and absolute end to this insanity.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He provides regular commentary to Daily Caller readers.