California judges must say if they’re gay

Besides the precedent in privacy violation, is this the beginning of affirmative action for homosexuals?

In order to make sure gays and lesbians are adequately represented on the judicial bench, the state of California is requiring all judges and justices to reveal their sexual orientation.

The announcement was made in an internal memo sent to all California judges and justices.“[The Administrative Office of the Courts] is contacting all judges and justices to gather data on race/ethnicity, gender identification, and sexual orientation,” reads an email sent by Romunda Price of the Administrative Office of the Courts. A copy of Price’s memo was obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

“Providing complete and accurate aggregate demographic data is crucial to garnering continuing legislative support for securing critically needed judgeships,” Price writes.

The process of self-revealing one’s sexual orientation is an element of a now yearly process. “To ensure that the AOC reports accurate data and to avoid the need to ask all judges to provide this information on an annual basis, the questionnaire asks that names be provided. The AOC, however, will release only aggregate statistical information, by jurisdiction, as required by the Government Code and will not identify any specific justice or judge.”

via California Asks Judges: Gay or Straight? | The Weekly Standard.

And isn’t this stacking the deck for the gay-related court cases on the horizon?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Michael B.

    It’s definition a violation of privacy rights.

  • Michael B.

    It’s definition a violation of privacy rights.

  • SKPeterson

    A rather post-modern or even somewhat Marxist view of the law: that the law is not neutral (if not in actual practice, at least ideally in theory) but is mediated through our group or class identity. Our roles within that group, class or subculture therefore become paramount and our roles as individuals in a broader society diminish.

  • SKPeterson

    A rather post-modern or even somewhat Marxist view of the law: that the law is not neutral (if not in actual practice, at least ideally in theory) but is mediated through our group or class identity. Our roles within that group, class or subculture therefore become paramount and our roles as individuals in a broader society diminish.

  • Joe

    Interesting timing. The US Supreme Court just accepted cert. in an affirmative action case. see Fisher v. Texas.

  • Joe

    Interesting timing. The US Supreme Court just accepted cert. in an affirmative action case. see Fisher v. Texas.

  • Jon

    @1 How is it a violation of privacy rights? I thought progressives are always telling us that one’s “orientation” is an immutable feature, no different than race, ethnic origin, gender or skin color. Shouldn’t we all be out and proud? Privacy indeed!

  • Jon

    @1 How is it a violation of privacy rights? I thought progressives are always telling us that one’s “orientation” is an immutable feature, no different than race, ethnic origin, gender or skin color. Shouldn’t we all be out and proud? Privacy indeed!

  • DonS

    This is a routine absurdity in California, a land in which those who decry “discrimination” insist on labeling every citizen by their race, gender, creed, or sexual orientation.

  • DonS

    This is a routine absurdity in California, a land in which those who decry “discrimination” insist on labeling every citizen by their race, gender, creed, or sexual orientation.

  • Grace

    What right does a judge have to hide their sexual identity? I believe this to be a good thing.

  • Grace

    What right does a judge have to hide their sexual identity? I believe this to be a good thing.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 6: Huh? This is still America, isn’t it?

  • DonS

    Grace @ 6: Huh? This is still America, isn’t it?

  • Grace

    DonS

    Judges as you know are by election and appointment. Why would they choose to hide their sexuality? Homosexuls very often flaunt their preference, but when it comes to serious positions such as a “judge” or perhaps a physcian, WHY would they want to hide it?

  • Grace

    DonS

    Judges as you know are by election and appointment. Why would they choose to hide their sexuality? Homosexuls very often flaunt their preference, but when it comes to serious positions such as a “judge” or perhaps a physcian, WHY would they want to hide it?

  • Grace

    I also believe that we the public, should have access to information of their sexual orientation. Why not?

  • Grace

    I also believe that we the public, should have access to information of their sexual orientation. Why not?

  • DonS

    Grace @ 8: Being a judge is a profession, like any other. Why in heck is the sexuality of a judge relevant to the job he/she is tasked to do? By becoming a judge, do you automatically concede any right to keep private things private? I don’t understand your rationale for forcing people to reveal private details of their lives for purposes entirely unrelated to their profession.

    “Homosexuals very often flaunt their preference, but when it comes to serious positions such as a “judge” or perhaps a physcian, WHY would they want to hide it?” — Really, Grace? That is a stereotype of a very small percentage of homosexuals — most lead quiet lives like anyone else, and the last thing they want is to be known by their sexual identity. Many are closeted, and they have every right, as Americans, to be closeted if that is their preference.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 8: Being a judge is a profession, like any other. Why in heck is the sexuality of a judge relevant to the job he/she is tasked to do? By becoming a judge, do you automatically concede any right to keep private things private? I don’t understand your rationale for forcing people to reveal private details of their lives for purposes entirely unrelated to their profession.

    “Homosexuals very often flaunt their preference, but when it comes to serious positions such as a “judge” or perhaps a physcian, WHY would they want to hide it?” — Really, Grace? That is a stereotype of a very small percentage of homosexuals — most lead quiet lives like anyone else, and the last thing they want is to be known by their sexual identity. Many are closeted, and they have every right, as Americans, to be closeted if that is their preference.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 9: What we as the public are entitled to, with respect to a judge, is an understanding of their judging philosophy. That is all I care about. Do they understand the limits on government imposed by the U.S. Constitution and their state constitution, and do they understand that it is up to the legislature and the people, through the initiative process, to make policy? If they understand these things, they will be a fine judge.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 9: What we as the public are entitled to, with respect to a judge, is an understanding of their judging philosophy. That is all I care about. Do they understand the limits on government imposed by the U.S. Constitution and their state constitution, and do they understand that it is up to the legislature and the people, through the initiative process, to make policy? If they understand these things, they will be a fine judge.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@10), I generally agree with you here, but you appear to have asserted a right to privacy. Care to expound on that?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@10), I generally agree with you here, but you appear to have asserted a right to privacy. Care to expound on that?

  • Grace

    DonS @ 10

    “That is a stereotype of a very small percentage of homosexuals — most lead quiet lives like anyone else, and the last thing they want is to be known by their sexual identity. Many are closeted, and they have every right, as Americans, to be closeted if that is their preference.”

    I don’t agree that it is a “stereotype” their lives are guided by what they believe, just as yours and mine. None of us, no matter who we are, can separate our core beliefs from our professions, to say we can is not looking at ourselves honestly. If I were involved, and my association would be known and part of the case, ie: Christian beliefs, a judge would then take note that I most likely believe homosexuality to be a sin. For that reason, he/she could, and most likely would, take offense. Judges are no different than anyone else, they are not always fair, often times their beliefs manifest themselves in the courtroom. Judges can choose to hear argument, or over-rule the argument, they can and do state “objection over-ruled” or “sustained” – is this always fair? I don’t believe it is.

    I will use the answer Judge Ginsburg stated below, of which I believe to not only be unfair, but against my Christian beliefs ie: funding for the killing of the unborn, using my tax dollars. This is not freedom of religion this is nothing short of using my husbands and my money to that which is sinful.

    Judge Ginsburg statement on abortion and funding:

    Government should fund abortion and childbirth equally
    SEN. GRAHAM: Here is what Justice Ginsburg said in an article she wrote titled, “Some Thoughts on Autonomy and Equality in Relationship to Roe v. Wade.”

    “The conflict is not simply one between a fetus’ interest and a woman’s interest.. Also in the balance is a woman’s autonomous charge of her full life’s course, her ability to stand in relation to men, society and to stay as an independent, self-sustaining equal citizen. As long as the government paid for childbirth, the argument proceeded, public funding could not be denied for abortion, often a safer, and always a far-less expensive course short and long term. By paying for childbirth but not abortion, the government increased spending and intruded upon or steered a choice Roe had ranked as a woman’s fundamental right.“

    GRAHAM: That writing suggests that not only is Roe an important constitutional right to the author, but that government ought to pay for abortions in certain circumstances.
    Source: Sam Alito Senate Confirmation Hearings , Jan 11, 2006

    The government’s use of money equates to my tax dollars, and everyone else’s.

  • Grace

    DonS @ 10

    “That is a stereotype of a very small percentage of homosexuals — most lead quiet lives like anyone else, and the last thing they want is to be known by their sexual identity. Many are closeted, and they have every right, as Americans, to be closeted if that is their preference.”

    I don’t agree that it is a “stereotype” their lives are guided by what they believe, just as yours and mine. None of us, no matter who we are, can separate our core beliefs from our professions, to say we can is not looking at ourselves honestly. If I were involved, and my association would be known and part of the case, ie: Christian beliefs, a judge would then take note that I most likely believe homosexuality to be a sin. For that reason, he/she could, and most likely would, take offense. Judges are no different than anyone else, they are not always fair, often times their beliefs manifest themselves in the courtroom. Judges can choose to hear argument, or over-rule the argument, they can and do state “objection over-ruled” or “sustained” – is this always fair? I don’t believe it is.

    I will use the answer Judge Ginsburg stated below, of which I believe to not only be unfair, but against my Christian beliefs ie: funding for the killing of the unborn, using my tax dollars. This is not freedom of religion this is nothing short of using my husbands and my money to that which is sinful.

    Judge Ginsburg statement on abortion and funding:

    Government should fund abortion and childbirth equally
    SEN. GRAHAM: Here is what Justice Ginsburg said in an article she wrote titled, “Some Thoughts on Autonomy and Equality in Relationship to Roe v. Wade.”

    “The conflict is not simply one between a fetus’ interest and a woman’s interest.. Also in the balance is a woman’s autonomous charge of her full life’s course, her ability to stand in relation to men, society and to stay as an independent, self-sustaining equal citizen. As long as the government paid for childbirth, the argument proceeded, public funding could not be denied for abortion, often a safer, and always a far-less expensive course short and long term. By paying for childbirth but not abortion, the government increased spending and intruded upon or steered a choice Roe had ranked as a woman’s fundamental right.“

    GRAHAM: That writing suggests that not only is Roe an important constitutional right to the author, but that government ought to pay for abortions in certain circumstances.
    Source: Sam Alito Senate Confirmation Hearings , Jan 11, 2006

    The government’s use of money equates to my tax dollars, and everyone else’s.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 12: Sure. As a matter of good policy and limited government, government should not intrude into the private affairs of citizens, including judges, any more than is absolutely necessary to perform its assigned duties under the law. That is part and parcel of respecting the liberties of a free people. Now, when we take on certain positions, such as a CIA analyst, who requires a top secret clearance, then the government is entitled to dig through your private life — it’s necessary to perform its job of ensuring that you are worthy of being trusted with state secrets. A judgeship is not such a position.

    OK, I know you wanted to talk about the Constitution, even though my comments were not directly related to asserting a constitutional right. However, clearly, no one disputes that the Bill of Rights protects a citizen’s right to privacy, particularly the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The Fourth Amendment protects the citizen from unreasonable search and seizure (unless you are picked for audit by the IRS) and the Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination. That’s essentially setting up a zone of privacy. What I object to in our Supreme Court jurisprudence is the notion that this right of privacy extends to things like the killing of another unborn human being (our constitutional rights are historically limited to avoid intrusion on the rights of another — Roe v. Wade avoided that by illogically denying that fetuses are people).

    To clarify, I agreed with the Court’s decision to overturn sodomy laws (the Lawrence v. Texas case of 2003). Government has no business regulating private activity between consenting adults that occurs in a private are. Why? Because there is no legitimate way to enforce such a broad law without violating the privacy of the consenting adults. A narrower law, prohibiting such conduct in public spaces, or soliciting prostitution in public spaces, would, of course, pass constitutional muster.

    Similarly, I agree with the results in the Griswold v. Connecticut case of 1965, which overturned a never-enforced statute prohibiting the use of contraceptives, even by married couples. Obviously, this law cannot be enforced without violating privacy rights, which is why it had never been enforced. It was overbroad. But, instead of merely declaring that, the Court went on to invent this broad “right to privacy” with “emanations and penumbras” from the existing enumerated Constitutional rights set forth in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, which led inevitably to the mischief wrought by Roe a few short years later. It’s a shame when a Court decides to make law instead of merely enforcing the existing law, even when it would have led to the same just result.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 12: Sure. As a matter of good policy and limited government, government should not intrude into the private affairs of citizens, including judges, any more than is absolutely necessary to perform its assigned duties under the law. That is part and parcel of respecting the liberties of a free people. Now, when we take on certain positions, such as a CIA analyst, who requires a top secret clearance, then the government is entitled to dig through your private life — it’s necessary to perform its job of ensuring that you are worthy of being trusted with state secrets. A judgeship is not such a position.

    OK, I know you wanted to talk about the Constitution, even though my comments were not directly related to asserting a constitutional right. However, clearly, no one disputes that the Bill of Rights protects a citizen’s right to privacy, particularly the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The Fourth Amendment protects the citizen from unreasonable search and seizure (unless you are picked for audit by the IRS) and the Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination. That’s essentially setting up a zone of privacy. What I object to in our Supreme Court jurisprudence is the notion that this right of privacy extends to things like the killing of another unborn human being (our constitutional rights are historically limited to avoid intrusion on the rights of another — Roe v. Wade avoided that by illogically denying that fetuses are people).

    To clarify, I agreed with the Court’s decision to overturn sodomy laws (the Lawrence v. Texas case of 2003). Government has no business regulating private activity between consenting adults that occurs in a private are. Why? Because there is no legitimate way to enforce such a broad law without violating the privacy of the consenting adults. A narrower law, prohibiting such conduct in public spaces, or soliciting prostitution in public spaces, would, of course, pass constitutional muster.

    Similarly, I agree with the results in the Griswold v. Connecticut case of 1965, which overturned a never-enforced statute prohibiting the use of contraceptives, even by married couples. Obviously, this law cannot be enforced without violating privacy rights, which is why it had never been enforced. It was overbroad. But, instead of merely declaring that, the Court went on to invent this broad “right to privacy” with “emanations and penumbras” from the existing enumerated Constitutional rights set forth in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, which led inevitably to the mischief wrought by Roe a few short years later. It’s a shame when a Court decides to make law instead of merely enforcing the existing law, even when it would have led to the same just result.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 13: I don’t accept your premise that Christians should potentially be excluded from judgeships because of their faith, either. The only issue should be the judging philosophy of the judicial candidate, not their personal characteristics. You do realize that the reason this new edict has come down is a bald-faced effort to ensure that more homosexuals are appointed to the bench, don’t you? They are attempting to establish a judicial quota system, based on race, gender, and sexual orientation, and we should be opposing this kind of discriminatory effort, so opposed to the very premise of the original civil rights movement, with every possible effort. It is abominable.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 13: I don’t accept your premise that Christians should potentially be excluded from judgeships because of their faith, either. The only issue should be the judging philosophy of the judicial candidate, not their personal characteristics. You do realize that the reason this new edict has come down is a bald-faced effort to ensure that more homosexuals are appointed to the bench, don’t you? They are attempting to establish a judicial quota system, based on race, gender, and sexual orientation, and we should be opposing this kind of discriminatory effort, so opposed to the very premise of the original civil rights movement, with every possible effort. It is abominable.

  • Grace

    DonS @ 15

    A defendant has the right to ask a judge to “recuse” him/herself. I would certainly request a homosexual judge to “recuse” themselves. If I KNOW that they are homosexual, I have the opportunity to make a decission, based upon my Biblical beliefs.

    Knowing whom will JUDGE me, is my right, the lifestyle does play a part in their beliefs and Judgeship. You are forgetting that some Judges can be by election or appointment. In both cases, and most certainly by “election” the judge has an obligation to state his whether or not he is a homosexual.

  • Grace

    DonS @ 15

    A defendant has the right to ask a judge to “recuse” him/herself. I would certainly request a homosexual judge to “recuse” themselves. If I KNOW that they are homosexual, I have the opportunity to make a decission, based upon my Biblical beliefs.

    Knowing whom will JUDGE me, is my right, the lifestyle does play a part in their beliefs and Judgeship. You are forgetting that some Judges can be by election or appointment. In both cases, and most certainly by “election” the judge has an obligation to state his whether or not he is a homosexual.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 16: Yes, you have the right to ask. But, it’s not gonna happen unless there is something in the judge’s background which creates an ethical conflict requiring him/her to recuse themselves. The mere fact that they are homosexual certainly isn’t such an ethical conflict under any judicial code of ethics of which I am aware.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 16: Yes, you have the right to ask. But, it’s not gonna happen unless there is something in the judge’s background which creates an ethical conflict requiring him/her to recuse themselves. The mere fact that they are homosexual certainly isn’t such an ethical conflict under any judicial code of ethics of which I am aware.

  • Grace

    DonS @ 17

    “The mere fact that they are homosexual certainly isn’t such an ethical conflict under any judicial code of ethics of which I am aware.”

    That might be true, but I would argue that it was a matter of “ethics”

    As the definition of “ethics” reads:

    a. A set of principles of right conduct.
    b. A theory or a system of moral values

    In this case Don, “moral values” come under the heading Biblical doctrine which states homosexuality to be a sin. In so arguing that fact, my rights would be infringed upon, due to the Judge being a homosexual.

    It’s to our benefit as Christian Believers to know who is judging.

  • Grace

    DonS @ 17

    “The mere fact that they are homosexual certainly isn’t such an ethical conflict under any judicial code of ethics of which I am aware.”

    That might be true, but I would argue that it was a matter of “ethics”

    As the definition of “ethics” reads:

    a. A set of principles of right conduct.
    b. A theory or a system of moral values

    In this case Don, “moral values” come under the heading Biblical doctrine which states homosexuality to be a sin. In so arguing that fact, my rights would be infringed upon, due to the Judge being a homosexual.

    It’s to our benefit as Christian Believers to know who is judging.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 18: OK, well that’s fine. But that is not what the judicial canon of ethics is based upon. Judges recuse themselves only when they face a conflict with respect either to the subject matter or one of the parties assigned to them. Biblical worldview isn’t an issue in that setting, for better or for worse.

    We, as Christians, are better off if the government stays out of these things. For if it chooses to intrude into the privacy of homosexual judges, at your request, it will also intrude into the privacy of Christians, at the request of other citizens, who might believe it is to their benefit to know who is judging.

    I think we’ve pretty well exhausted the subject, Grace.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 18: OK, well that’s fine. But that is not what the judicial canon of ethics is based upon. Judges recuse themselves only when they face a conflict with respect either to the subject matter or one of the parties assigned to them. Biblical worldview isn’t an issue in that setting, for better or for worse.

    We, as Christians, are better off if the government stays out of these things. For if it chooses to intrude into the privacy of homosexual judges, at your request, it will also intrude into the privacy of Christians, at the request of other citizens, who might believe it is to their benefit to know who is judging.

    I think we’ve pretty well exhausted the subject, Grace.

  • formerly just steve

    Can I just say that the California legislature is a laughing stock? They’re the most ridiculous bunch of clowns one could ever hope not to be represented by.

  • formerly just steve

    Can I just say that the California legislature is a laughing stock? They’re the most ridiculous bunch of clowns one could ever hope not to be represented by.

  • DonS

    formerly @ 20:

    Yes, you can! My hope is in vain, however.

  • DonS

    formerly @ 20:

    Yes, you can! My hope is in vain, however.

  • Grace

    formerly just steve @ 20

    You’re wrong, there are a great many talented lawyers in California, I have known many. They certainly aren’t “clowns” as you clasify them, … most likely its the “clowns” they represent who pose the biggest problem.

  • Grace

    formerly just steve @ 20

    You’re wrong, there are a great many talented lawyers in California, I have known many. They certainly aren’t “clowns” as you clasify them, … most likely its the “clowns” they represent who pose the biggest problem.

  • http://www.courts.ca.gov/home.htm Philip R. Carrizosa

    The problem with this blog post, and the original article in The Weekly Standard, is that judges are NOT required to answer any question about sexual orientation. While the Administrative Office of the Courts is statutorily required to ask the question, judges are free not to answer it, just as they are free not to answer a question about their ethnicity. If the blog writer had checked out The Weekly Standard story with me as spokesperson for the AOC, he would have learned the facts.

  • http://www.courts.ca.gov/home.htm Philip R. Carrizosa

    The problem with this blog post, and the original article in The Weekly Standard, is that judges are NOT required to answer any question about sexual orientation. While the Administrative Office of the Courts is statutorily required to ask the question, judges are free not to answer it, just as they are free not to answer a question about their ethnicity. If the blog writer had checked out The Weekly Standard story with me as spokesperson for the AOC, he would have learned the facts.

  • Grace

    Mr. Carrizosa

    ” If the blog writer had checked out The Weekly Standard story with me as spokesperson for the AOC, he would have learned the facts.”

    Well, it appears you’ve just given us our much deserved lunch!

  • Grace

    Mr. Carrizosa

    ” If the blog writer had checked out The Weekly Standard story with me as spokesperson for the AOC, he would have learned the facts.”

    Well, it appears you’ve just given us our much deserved lunch!

  • DonS

    Grace @ 22: Formerly said “legislators”, not “lawyers”. Otherwise, I might have taken offense ;-)

  • DonS

    Grace @ 22: Formerly said “legislators”, not “lawyers”. Otherwise, I might have taken offense ;-)

  • formerly just steve

    Grace, #22, of course there are many talented people in just about any group. That doesn’t negate the fact that as a whole they are a bunch of clowns. If not, they wouldn’t be able to spew the kind of garbage legislation they do.

  • formerly just steve

    Grace, #22, of course there are many talented people in just about any group. That doesn’t negate the fact that as a whole they are a bunch of clowns. If not, they wouldn’t be able to spew the kind of garbage legislation they do.

  • Grace

    DonS @ 25

    You’re right of course :o ps: -

  • Grace

    DonS @ 25

    You’re right of course :o ps: -

  • DonS

    Philip @ 23: Dr. Veith is a blog writer, not a reporter, and doesn’t have time to check sources for each article he references in a comment. I think that most people would not be surprised to learn that the judges are not actually compelled to answer the question, though it would seem as if inferences might be drawn by the failure to answer the question. What is more at stake here is whether such a personal question should even be asked, especially when the purpose is to effectively assign quotas for judgeships.

  • DonS

    Philip @ 23: Dr. Veith is a blog writer, not a reporter, and doesn’t have time to check sources for each article he references in a comment. I think that most people would not be surprised to learn that the judges are not actually compelled to answer the question, though it would seem as if inferences might be drawn by the failure to answer the question. What is more at stake here is whether such a personal question should even be asked, especially when the purpose is to effectively assign quotas for judgeships.

  • moallen

    I think all the judges should write-in either “bisexual” or “varies” in protest.

  • moallen

    I think all the judges should write-in either “bisexual” or “varies” in protest.