Male Judges Far Outnumber Women Judges, Federal Court Graph Shows

November 30, 2010
Court-watchers have noted the lack of diversity on the federal bench, and a new graph produced by the federal government confirms that gender diversity is seriously lagging.

According to the graph from the United States Courts' website, which is maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the federal judiciary, since 1998 the number of female judges has risen, but is still significantly lower than male judges. The number of women judges, since 1998, has increased to 496 from 302. In 2009 male judges exceeded 1,500.

Glenn Sugameli, founder and head of the environmental community's Judging the Environment project and website on federal judicial nominations, told ACSblog, "The U.S. Courts' Federal Bench Gender Snapshot shows a disappointing lack of major progress in the percentage of female federal judges in recent years."

Sugameli continued, "President Obama's 43 confirmed judicial nominees include 22 women and 17 men and women of color. Senate Republican obstruction of every pending judicial nominee, however, is blocking votes that would increase the diversity of the federal bench. Ten of the 23 nominees awaiting Floor votes are women and 13 are men and women of color."

In an interview with ACSblog, Maryland law school professor Sherrilyn Ifill talks about the need to diversify the federal bench, noting that the decision-making process would be enhanced by judges "who represent and are reflective of the larger society." Ifill's interview followed an ACS panel discussion focusing on diversity on the federal bench.

[image via available United States Courts]