Promoting Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts

Watch film | Transcript | Get more info...



The Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission educates and advises decision makers in the New York Court System on issues affecting both employees and litigants of color, and implements recommendations developed to address said issues.

Created in 1988, the New York State Judicial Commission on Minorities (now known as the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission) conducted a comprehensive study on minority participation in the courts and legal profession and perceptions regarding the treatment of minorities in the courts. In 1991, the Commission released a detailed report of findings and recommendations and was established as a permanent entity charged with the responsibility for developing programs to improve the perception of fairness within the court system and to ensure equal justice in New York State. The members of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission are judges, lawyers and court administrators all appointed by the Chief Judge of the State of New York.

Commission Members


The Work Continues

The Commission continues its pursuit of equal justice:

  • Serving as a conduit to persons of color within the court system, meeting annually with the Chief Judge and court administrators to discuss issues of concern to court employees and matters pertaining to racial and ethnic fairness in the courts.
  • Sponsoring seminars and conferences for Judges and court personnel on issues of diversity and race within the courts.
  • Holding professional development and leadership workshops for court personnel and providing judicial mentors for attorneys interested in judicial appointments
  • Acting as a liaison to community groups, fraternal organizations within the court, bar associations and judicial appointing authorities.
  • Producing and distributing various publications, including a newsletter.
  • Hosting the Diversity Awards program honoring individuals and organizations working to promote racial and ethnic fairness in the New York State Unified Court System and the legal community.
  • Presenting a class for new judges on cultural awareness at the New York State Judicial Institute training session for new judges.


What's New



On March 12, 2019, the Commission met with Chief Judge DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Marks to discuss issues regarding the works and achievements of the Commission over the past two years. Following that meeting, Susan DeSantis of the New York Law Journal met with the Commission.

More photos



Franklin H. Williams was a Trailblazer, Civil Rights Attorney, Ambassador to Ghana, President of the Phelps Stokes Fund and the original chair of the New York State Judicial Commission on Minorities, now named the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission. In celebration of his outstanding achievements...
(Read more)


More What's New




25 Beaver St.
New York, NY 10004

Phone: 212-428-2790
Fax: 212-428-2792


Chief Judge Janet DiFiore with Hon. Richard B. Lowe III, Past Chair of the Commission


Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman with Hon. Rose H. Sconiers, Past Chair of the Commission


Former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye with Hon. Lewis Douglass (Past Chair of the Commission)


Franklin H. Williams appearing at the Court of Appeals on behalf of the New York State Commission on Minorities.



The Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission invites you to follow us on Twitter @NYCourtsFHW


back to top