The National Association of Women Judges wound up a three-day organizational meeting here today, urging that a woman be appointed to fill the next vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The meeting, organized by a group of California judges, brought together 84 judges from around the country to discuss how more women could be appointed to the bench and elevated in rank.
California Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird, who has come under attack recently from several quarters, told the group that women and minorities have become scapegoats, "subject to particularly close scrutiny and allowed little or no margin for error. . ."
"A national organization of women judges can be a strong force for positive change," she said.
Margaret McKenna, deputy counsel to the president, urged the group to suggest candidates to President Carter should a vacancy on the Supreme Court occur. Justice William J. Brennan reportedly is considering retirement.
Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of the California Court of Appeal, who is one of the cofounders of the organization and was elected its first president, said there are only about 300 women judges nationwide, and 15 states have no women judges.
Susan Ness of the National Women's Political Caucus said that of the 605 active federal judges, only 28, or 4.6 percent, are women. That is better that the 1.1 percent when President Carter took office, but the selection procedure is still dominated by the "old boy network," she said.
The Association also called for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and urged its members to resign from clubs or organizations that discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion or national origin if attempts to change such policies are not successful.