Obama moves at historic pace to diversify federal bench

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by AK Forty Seven, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. http://www.dailyamerican.com/news/sns-bc-us--obama-judges,0,7350448.story

    Associated Press
    6:28 a.m. EDT, September 13, 2011

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is moving at a historic pace to try to diversify the nation's federal judiciary: Nearly three of every four people he has gotten confirmed to the federal bench are women or minorities. He is the first president who hasn't selected a majority of white males for lifetime judgeships.

    More than 70 percent of Obama's confirmed judicial nominees during his first two years were "non-traditional," or nominees who were not white males. That far exceeds the percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton (48.1 percent) and George W. Bush (32.9 percent), according to Sheldon Goldman, author of the authoritative book "Picking Federal Judges."

    "It is an absolutely remarkable diversity achievement," said Goldman, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who is only counting judges once, even if they fit more than one category.

    The White House recently has been touting its efforts to diversify the federal bench during Obama's tenure, now approaching three years in office.

    The president won Senate confirmation of the first Latina to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. With the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan, he has put three women on the high court for the first time. The Obama administration also nominated and won confirmation of the first openly gay man to a federal judgeship: former Clinton administration official J. Paul Oetken, to an opening in New York City.

    "All of us can be proud of President Obama for taking this critical step to break down another barrier and increase diversity in the federal judiciary," Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said upon Oetken's confirmation.

    The first openly homosexual federal judge was Deborah A. Batts in New York City, a lesbian nominated by Clinton in 1994.

    Of the 98 Obama nominees confirmed to date, the administration says 21 percent are African-American, 11 percent are Hispanic, 7 percent are Asian-American and almost half — 47 percent — are women. By comparison, of the 322 judges confirmed during George W. Bush's presidency, 18 percent were minorities and 22 percent were female. Of the 372 judges confirmed during Clinton's terms, 25 percent were minorities and 29 percent were women. In these figures, some judges fit into more than one category.

    Last week, the Senate confirmed the first African-American woman to sit on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Bernice Donald. Earlier, she was the first African-American woman elected as a judge in Tennessee, the first appointed as federal bankruptcy judge in the nation and first confirmed as a U.S. district judge in Tennessee.

    Obama also has doubled the number of Asian-Americans sitting on the federal bench, including adding Denny Chin to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York as the only active Asian federal appeals court judge. There currently are 14 Asian-American federal judges on the 810-judge roster.

    "It's really amazing," said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who wrote about the increasing diversity on the federal bench during Obama's administration in an article in the Washington University Law Review. "Obama has nominated as many as were sitting on the bench when he was inaugurated."

    For more than 140 years, there were no females or minorities among the nation's federal judges.

    The first female federal appellate judge was Florence Allen, who gained her seat on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1934. The first female U.S. District Court judge was Burnita Shelton Matthews, who took the bench in Washington, D.C., in 1950. William Henry Hastie Jr. was the first African-American U.S. District Court judge, sitting in the Virgin Islands in 1937 before being elevated to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1949.

    Reynaldo G. Garza became the first Hispanic federal judge when he was appointed to the U.S. District Court in Texas in 1961, and Herbert Choy became the first Asian-American federal judge when he was appointed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1971.

    Thurgood Marshall became the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court in 1967, and Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman to be elevated to the nation's highest court in 1981.

    "I think it's always good to have diverse perspectives, whether it's gender, sexuality or ideology," Tobias said.

    Those who track diversity on the federal bench are pleased with Obama's progress so far but want more voices from all of America's communities in the federal courts. Obama has nominated three other openly gay judicial nominees, as well as what would be the only active Native American on the federal bench, if Arvo Mikkanen is confirmed to a federal judgeship in Oklahoma.

    "The more diverse the courts, the more confidence people have in our judicial system," said Nan Aron of the liberal Alliance for Justice. "Having a diverse judiciary also enriches the decision-making process."
  2. Sorry to ruin your day AD :( :( :(
  3. "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

    I guess Obama didn't get the message.
  4. hiring based on skin color. hmmm, sounds like discrimination to me, but what do i know.
  5. I see nothing wrong with the characters of people like Sonia Sotomayor ,Elena Kagan,Denny Chin,Bernice Donald etc

  6. The practice of hiring mostly white males sounds like discrimination to me
  7. bone

    bone ET Sponsor

    Well, since his time in office is 75 % complete and every rational human sees the handwriting on the walls...

    WASHINGTON | Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:03am EDT

    (Reuters) - President Barack Obama faces deep skepticism from swing voters who see the Republican party as more in tune with their concerns about government spending, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
  8. since white males are not only the majority but most likely the largest pool of educated and qualified applicants, it would make sense that they would get most of the jobs based on competency. duh.
  9. There are more white females then white males in this country.There are more overall females then males in this country.There are more combined females and minorities in this country then white males
  10. Ricter


    If what Dodger quotes is true, that people are more comfortable in many different ways in dealing with people of their own color, then it makes sense that the judiciary should more closely reflect the composition of the population.

    ; )
    #10     Sep 13, 2011