June 24, 2021

American Constitution Society Expands Federal Bench Diversity Tracking with Addition of Biden-Harris Administration Appointments


Contact: Pablo Willis, pwillis@acslaw.org   

Washington, DC — The American Constitution Society (ACS) has now started tracking the racial, ethnic, and gender makeup of the Biden-Harris Administration’s judicial appointments.   

The new data is an update to ACS’s “Diversity of the Federal Bench” webpage, which was launched last year and also includes information from the Obama and Trump Administrations.  

Overall, ACS’s data shows that people of color make up just 26 percent of all active judges on the Article III courts, which includes the Supreme Court, circuit and district courts, and the Court of International Trade. Sixteen states have district courts that do not have a single active judge who is a person of color. Overall, 74 percent of all active Article III judges are white and 67 percent are male.  

The new data highlights the significant diversity of the Biden-Harris judicial nominations so far:   

  • 5 out of 6nominees confirmed to the bench are people of color  
  • 4 out of 6 nominees confirmed to the bench are women  

“It’s critical for the legitimacy of our federal courts that the judicial system reflects the broad diversity of the people it serves,” said ACS President Russ Feingold. “That's why ACS’s tracking of diversity on the federal bench is so crucial -- it allows the public to see who is presiding over the court decisions that impact their lives.  

The previous administration only deepened the significant racial and gender disparity on the federal bench, and the Biden-Harris Administration’s first few judicial nominations show that it is prioritizing selecting judges who reflect the diversity of the people they serve. In addition to personal diversity, increasing professional diversity by nominating candidates with backgrounds in criminal defense, civil rights, and labor is incredibly important given the prominence of judges with prosecutorial and big law backgrounds on the federal bench. “  

ACS’s tracking is based on data collected from judges by the Federal Judicial Center, the research and education agency of the judicial branch of the U.S. government. ACS will update the “Diversity of the Federal Bench” web page regularly as new data becomes available from the center.