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SACRAMENTO � As part of a brokered compromise to create 50 new judgeships � and to encourage more diversity in the judiciary � the state will expand the criteria used to evaluate would-be judges, legislative and judicial leaders announced Friday. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu�ez has also called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to release the names of committee members who serve on judicial screening panels around the state. “People say they’re not really secret. Well, it’s generally Caucasian attorneys who know who’s on these committees,” said Fredericka McGee, general counsel to Nu�ez , a Los Angeles Democrat. “They’re basically the gatekeepers and we don’t know who they are, and they aren’t accountable to anyone,” McGee said. Schwarzenegger Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy is open to identifying the committee members, but top judicial selection adviser John Davies is hesitant, McGee said. A spokeswoman for the Republican governor would only say that Schwarzenegger is considering the speaker’s request. Friday’s developments are the latest twist in Chief Justice Ronald George’s efforts to create 50 new bench positions next year. Schwarzenegger’s budget includes money for 50 judges, but two weeks ago Nu�ez unexpectedly cut authorization for new positions to 25, saying the governor had not complied with an earlier pledge to appoint more minorities to the bench. Late Thursday, legislative Democrats boosted the number of judgeships back to 50 with the promise of a change to the judicial application and the hope that the governor will identify his judicial-vetting advisers. McGee said the revised application � proposed by George in July � would place less emphasis on litigation experience and encourage attorneys from different backgrounds to detail their practice history. District attorneys’ offices, traditional sources of new judges, usually have fewer attorneys of color than other practices, she said. “We believe that expanding the application in that way gets a bigger pool of applicants,” McGee said. The latest version of a bill authorizing the new judgeships also directs the State Bar to “provide a mechanism” for members to voluntarily offer diversity data. The governor’s office has argued that its judicial picks are more diverse than the State Bar’s overall membership. But the speaker’s office says the governor is using unreliable statistics based on a survey of 1,700 members. Schwarzenegger has never revealed how many judicial vetting committees he has formed, the identities of those who serve on them or where they are located in the state. Justice Arthur Scotland of the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento said Friday that he is chairman of the Northern California Judicial Selection Advisory Committee. He declined to say who else serves on the committee or to comment generally on the speaker’s accusations. “On our committee there is racial, ethnic and gender diversity,” Scotland said. Lawmakers will review the proposed judgeships in committee next week. McGee said the speaker hopes to have the judicial application revised and a deal with the governor on his screening committees by Thursday, the final day the Legislature is in session. Nu�ez has not ruled out cutting the judgeships again if he can’t reach an agreement with the governor, McGee said.

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