California Judiciary Changes Policy on Boy Scout Membership By Judges

California judges will no longer be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts organization after the state Supreme Court voted to eliminate an exception to a rule that bars jurists from being a part of discriminatory organizations.

The Judicial Branch of California issued a news release titled “Supreme Court Eliminates Ethics Exception that Permitted Judges to Belong to Nonprofit Youth Organizations That Discriminate.” Although there are judges and others who hope that the Boy Scouts of America will discontinue barring gay and lesbian adults from serving as leaders in the organization so far that has not happened.

California’s judicial code of ethics bars judges from holding “membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

Until this new order, California had provided an exception covering nonprofit youth organizations, including the Boy Scouts – the only state in the nation to do so.

California is one of 47 states that ban judges from joining discriminatory groups, and one of 22 that include a ban on groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

An ethics advisory committee to the California Supreme Court proposed the change again last year, saying it would “promote the integrity of the judiciary” and “enhance public confidence” in the judicial branch’s impartiality.


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