Biden appoints much more diverse group of judges than predecessors, report says


President Biden’s judicial appointments so far set new diversity records, according to a report released Wednesday – three-quarters are women and nearly three-quarters are racial minorities. And the judges he appointed in California are even more diverse.

Of the 28 presidential candidates confirmed by the Senate as of Nov. 8, 21 were women, according to a report by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a non-profit liberal rights advocacy group. Eight were white, eight were black, and the rest were from other racial or ethnic groups.

They join a federal judiciary that is now 65% male and 72% white, according to the report. Biden has pledged to appoint the very first female black Supreme Court judge to fill the first vacant vacancy on the tribunal, which currently includes three women – including one Latina and two who are white – a black man and five white men.

In contrast, according to the organization, the judges appointed by Donald Trump were 76% male and 84% white, and those of Barack Obama were 58% male and 64% white.

Biden’s candidates are also being confirmed at a rapid pace, despite the Senate’s partisan 50-50 split, with Vice President Kamala Harris available for the deciding votes. The 28 confirmations from a month ago are the most important for any administration in 50 years, according to the report, while Trump had 13 judicial selections approved by the Republican-controlled Senate during the same period, and Obama, with the Democrats in the majority, had just five.

The Senate has yet to vote on any of Biden’s candidates for federal courts in California. But they follow the same pattern of diversity, said Carl Tobias, professor of law at the University of Richmond: of the four current candidates for the Ninth United States Court of Appeals in San Francisco – Lucy Koh, Holly Thomas, Gabriel Sanchez and Jennifer Sung – all four are minorities and three are women. Of the seven candidates for US district courts in California, five are minorities and six are women.

The career paths of Biden’s forensic selections are also more diverse than those of their predecessors, who were mostly former prosecutors or corporate attorneys, according to the report. Of its 60 candidates to date, according to the report, 19 have worked as public defenders, 18 have represented litigants in civil rights cases or worked in legal assistance to the poor, and 10 have been law professors or lawyers. .

Much remains to be done, the rights group said, but “this administration has made historic strides in diversity.”

Bob Egelko is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @BobEgelko


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