August 19, 2021

Our federal judiciary should reflect the public it serves

Russ Feingold President

Russ Feingold
ACS President Russ Feingold

Our federal judiciary should reflect the public it serves. The ability of the public to see itself reflected in who sits on our courts is integral to our democratic legitimacy. Just eight months into the Biden-Harris administration, we are making strides in diversifying our federal bench. In its first 100 days, the Biden-Harris administration nominated and the Senate confirmed more judges than the previous two administrations combined.

Four of the 10 circuit court judges nominated by President Biden and already confirmed by the Senate are Black women. This is compared to zero Black circuit court judges nominated by the previous administration. In fact, prior to the current administration, only eight Black women had served as circuit court judges – ever.

Additionally, of the 33 Article III judges already nominated by President Biden, 12 have spent time as public defenders, improving the professional diversity of the judiciary. There is still work to do with nearly 90 current and future vacancies that do not have nominees. We are in constant contact with the White House about nominations and our working groups continue to recruit and recommend diverse candidates, including LGBTQ candidates and candidates with experience representing unions and fighting for civil rights. You can find further information on our up-to-date Diversity on the Federal Bench webpage, where we provide detailed data on the demographics of our judiciary. Your support for ACS is powering our Path to the Bench project and helping diversify our federal courts!

If you haven’t already, I also encourage you to check out our podcast, “Broken Law.” We just released a new episode about protecting workers’ rights in 2021. This episode could not be more timely or important with the array of challenges facing workers today, from a U.S. Supreme Court that is hostile to unions, to corporate efforts at union busting, to the unprecedented challenges from the pandemic. We discuss all of these in this week’s podcast episode. Find Broken Law wherever you get your podcasts.