Proposed R.I. bill: Any judge who is 'person of color' must be replaced by another 'person of color'

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

A bill introduced by Rhode Island legislator Anastasia P. Williams would require that, whenever a Rhode Island trial judge "who is a person of color leaves the bench, for whatever reason, their replacement must be a person of color, so as not to diminish the number of judges of color in that court."

Such a rigid racial allotment would be a pretty clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause, I think, even given the narrow forms of race-based preferences that the Supreme Court has allowed; and I think it would violate the even more explicit provision in the Rhode Island Constitution:

No otherwise qualified person shall, solely by reason of race, gender or handicap be subject to discrimination by the state, its agents or any person or entity doing business with the state.

But in any event, I thought I'd mention it.

(I learned of this from Gavel to Gavel, a very useful—and nonideological—blog run by Bill Raftery at the National Center for State Courts.)