Adrienne Lawrence

Legal analyst, law professor & award-winning author

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Opinion

Biden setting new records on diversity of federal judges

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Adrienne Lawrence

Legal analyst, law professor & award-winning author

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Historically, white men have dominated federal judgeships in the United States. That’s begun to change under President Joe Biden, who tied and set new records regarding the diversity of his federal judicial appointments.

Advocates hail Biden’s accomplishments as an important step to develop more representative courts and restore Americans’ eroding public trust in the judicial branch. Critics concede that while Biden has been “marginally better” than his predecessors on federal appointments, he nonetheless continues a long tradition of favoring corporate-side attorneys from elite law firms.

Watch the above video as Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence reviews the key benefits of diversity in federal judgeships and why she says Americans should appreciate President Biden’s hard work to make the U.S. federal judiciary more inclusive.


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The following is an excerpt of the above video:

More than two centuries since our nation’s inception and the federal bench still largely reflects the founding fathers. Nearly 70% of federal judges are male and 78% are white. Biden was committed to changing that. He logged his way into the Oval Office by promising to appoint judges who reflect the rich diversity of the United States.

And he has been making good on this promise, installing more non-white and non-male judges than any other president before him. In fact, 63% of those Biden elevated to the federal bench are women, 30% are Black, and just under 20% [are] Hispanic. 18% are Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. That’s more AAPI judges than any other administration has ever appointed, according to the White House. Biden’s federal appointment game looks more like a United Colors of Benetton ad, and I am here for it.

I’m also here for the fact that he’s gone beyond the surface in terms of appointing richly diverse judges. For example, Biden’s nominating judges who are coming from the openly queer community. Also other rarely represented backgrounds in law such as labor lawyers, civil rights attorneys, public defenders. Biden’s not simply putting people on the bench who are from big law with elite backgrounds, with big bucks, owed big favors.

President Joe Biden bucked tradition he just appointed his 200 and first federal judge at the close of May. While former President Donald Trump filled 237 vacancies in the federal courts. Biden’s efforts to date are still significant milestones worthy of praise, not just because of the number of federal judges that he has appointed, but because of the barriers that Biden’s allowed to be broken on his watch. More than two centuries since our nation’s inception and the federal bench, it still largely reflects the founding fathers. nearly 70% of federal judges are male and 78% are white. Biden was committed to changing that he logged his way into the Oval Office by promising to appoint judges who reflect the rich diversity of the United States. And he has been making good on this promise, installing more non white and non male judges than any other president before him. In fact, 63% of those Biden elevated to the federal bench are women 30% are black and just under 20% of Hispanic 18% are Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. That’s more AAPI judges than any other administration has ever appointed. According to the White House. Biden’s federal appointment game looks more like a United Colors of Benetton ad, and I am here for it. I’m also here for the fact that he’s gone beyond the surface in terms of appointing richly diverse judges. For example, Biden’s nominating judges who are coming from the openly queer community. Also other rarely representative backgrounds in law such as labor lawyers, civil rights attorneys, public defenders, by not simply putting people on the bench who are from big law with elite backgrounds with big bucks owed big favors. This inclusive approach to our Article Three courts is not only long overdue, but especially necessary. Those presiding over the court of law should reflect those presiding over the court of public opinion, representation matters. bringing diverse outlooks, perspectives and reasoning to the judiciary creates greater public trust and more competence in the courts. We are entitled to a jury of our peers, so why not a judiciary of it too, and handling issues arising from a composition of our society, the bench will likely be more reflective of that composition, because we all should play a role in our nation’s governance. With public trust in the courts at an all time low. Right now, it’s crucial that the federal bench have greater representation than what we’ve experienced for the past what 250 plus years of the courts being a straight sis het landowning white male game, to those who ask, Well, what about the straights this has white men? Well, what about them? Open a history book and 99% of the time you’ll see them judging over the lives of the rest of us. Straight sis head, white men have dominated the judiciary and have done so since the inception of our nation. It’s okay to give other people are shocked. Plus, it’s not like white men aren’t still getting opportunities to pass judgment 13% of Biden’s judicial nominees were white men. That’s a whole lot less than Trump’s 84% of 45. Judicial picks were white and 76% were men. And these folks aren’t going anywhere. Because if you recall, a federal judicial appointment is a lifetime one. So worry not about white male representation as it’s very much still present. And so are the number of qualified and overly qualified non white non male judicial candidates. For those of you who somehow think Trump appointed an excessive number of white men simply because there was a lack of viable options. According to the ABA, that’s the American Bar Association. Of the 1.3 million lawyers in the United States. 40% are women and 20% are non white. So you can’t tell me that the Trump administration did not have options. Biden’s appointment record clearly establishes that the options are there. Valuing diversity and the judiciary, breaking these barriers and creating a government that reflects We the People is important and long overdue. And there’s still a lot more work to be done. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Biden will be able to do it before the end of his term. And whether he gets a second term. Well, it’s looking pretty suspect right now, per PVS Of the more than 40. Current judicial vacancies, half are in states with two Republican senators. That’s important to know is it concerns a district court judges, because home state senators can still veto White House nominations under a long standing Senate tradition. I think we’ve had enough tradition over the past 247 years. If we want a government that truly represents us all we need judiciary members that do as well. And Joe Biden is willing to put in that work.

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