The Increasing Diversity Of Federal Judges Under President Obama

man smiling

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week the first topic discussed in the third presidential debate was the Supreme Court. Moderator Chris Wallace pointed out that the next President will potentially make several appointments to the Supreme Court. In fact, Presidents are responsible for nominating the lower-level federal judges as well. There are 13 courts of appeals and 94 district courts. During his time in office, President Obama has made diversity on the federal bench a priority. His belief is that a diverse judiciary helps ensure fair and just administration of the law and engenders public confidence in the court system. Consequently, his nominees have been diverse. This is the first time in history the Supreme Court has had three women on the bench. In fact, only 4 of the 112 Justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court have been women and Obama appointed two of them. Obama has appointed several hundred judges. In all, 42% of the judges appointed by Obama are women. By way of contrast, 22% of judicial appointees under President George W. Bush are women. 19% of the judges appointed by Obama are African American. Under Bush it was 7%. 11% of Obama’s appointments are Hispanic. Under Bush, it was 9%. 7% of Obama’s appointments are Asian-American. Under Bush, it was 1%. President Obama has appointed 11 openly gay judges. Only 1 had ever been appointed before (by President Clinton).