Judiciary

Sotomayor’s Elevation Cuts Hispanics on US Appeals Courts by One-Third


The federal bench is largely white and male, but President Obama’s judicial appointments would help increase the diversity.

Right now 13 percent of all federal judges are minorities and 18 percent are women, according to statistics published by the Washington Post. When Obama appointed Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, the vacancy created on the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reduced the number of Hispanics on federal appeals courts by one-third, according to an accompanying Washington Post story.

None of Obama’s other federal judicial nominees have been confirmed yet. He has nominated six white men, two white women, three black men, two black women, two Asian American women and one Asian American man.

Russell Wheeler, a Brookings Institution scholar, chronicled the makeup of the federal bench in a new report that found diversity, although low, is increasing, the story says. “Sotomayor has been part of three trends since the 1950s–an increase in the proportion of women and in members of racial and ethnic minorities and a decrease in the proportion of district judges appointed, as was she, from among private lawyers,” Wheeler wrote in the report.

Related coverage:

The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times: “Where Bush Looked for His District Court Judges”

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