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A coalition of minority lawmakers has asked state legislative leaders to cut funding for 50 new judges in the proposed 2007-08 budget to protest the lack of diversity in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent judicial appointments. In a letter to the Democratic and Republican leadership, the chairmen of the Asian Pacific Islander, Black and Latino legislative caucuses blasted the governor for naming no Asians and just one Latina among 26 judicial appointments he made on June 22. “In this tough budget year we believe the $27.2 million can be better spent on other items, and should not be used to enable the governor to continue the stunning lack of diversity in our third branch of government,” the chairmen wrote. Last month, Schwarzenegger appointed the first 23 of 50 judicial appointments the Legislature authorized in the 2006-07 budget. His picks included 17 men, 18 Caucasians and 13 prosecutors, and they instantly drew the ire of legislative Democrats and minority bar groups around the state. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez’s general counsel warned then that Schwarzenegger’s selection provided “no incentive” for the Legislature to fund another 50 new judgeships in the 2007-08 budget � a top legislative priority for Chief Justice Ronald George. The Legislature missed the constitutional deadline for approving a new budget two weeks ago amid partisan squabbling over spending. It’s unclear how big of an issue the request for another 50 new judgeships is for legislative leaders.

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