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New York State’s Latino judges in 1985. Courtesy Photo

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to talk about the importance of judicial diversity – in particular, the lack of Latino representation on the bench.  I will start with a quote from my great friend Justice Rolando Acosta, the presiding justice of the First Department.  The quote is from a “Perspective” column that was published in the New York Law Journal over a decade ago.  This is what he said: “The most important goal of [judicial] diversity is [that it would] give credibility to a judicial system that Latinos and people of color have historically viewed with suspicion and distrust.  A diverse judiciary [would] engender confidence that courts—the last bastion of justice—have the requisite moral authority to dispense justice to all.” The idea is that our judiciary would be at its best, our judiciary would be viewed as most credible when the community – the users of our courts – begin to see themselves reflected in the judiciary.

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