Obama's Judicial Picks Are Most Diverse Yet


Bill Clinton may have popularized the phrase “looks like America” for his administration, but Barack Obama has him beat, according to a new analysis. “More than 70 percent of Obama’s confirmed judicial nominees during his first two years were ‘non-traditional,’ or nominees who were not white males.” Bill Clinton’s percentage was 48.1 percent, and George W. Bush’s was 32.9 percent. Judges were only counted once, meaning that, say, Sonia Sotomayor wouldn’t be double-counted.

Here’s the total breakdown:

Of the 98 Obama nominees confirmed to date, the administration says 21 percent are African-American, 11 percent are Hispanic, 7 percent are Asian-American and almost half – 47 percent – are women. By comparison, of the 322 judges confirmed during George W. Bush’s presidency, 18 percent were minorities and 22 percent were female.

Of course, the biggest issue Obama faces when it comes to the federal judiciary is getting his nominees confirmed — that is, the ones he makes. Fifty-five nominees are waiting in limbo before the senate, and there are a total of 94 vacancies, meaning Obama should also get nominating. And of the nominations he did make, one was filibustered by Senate Republicans and another withdrew herself from the process after continual Republican obstruction. (Update: Correction, Dawn Johnsen was nominated to the Office of Legal Counsel, not a judgeship.) Though it’s probably a coincidence that one was an Asian American man and the other was a woman, since for once, the odds were high.

Obama Increases Number Of Female, Minority Judges [AP]
Related: Missing In Action [NYT]

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