Building a More Inclusive Federal Judiciary

The federal judiciary is experiencing a legitimacy crisis, with the public increasingly viewing the courts as ideologically driven. Contributing to the courts’ current legitimacy crisis is the disturbing lack of women, people of color, individuals who self-identify as LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and those belonging to minority religions serving on the federal courts. Today, even as the U.S. population becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, white male judges comprise nearly 60 percent of all sitting judges on the federal courts.

Diversity adds immense value to the judiciary. Judges who self-identify as members of historically underrepresented groups draw on their divergent life experiences while hearing cases and deliberating with colleagues, which helps to ensure even-handed decisions. Recognizing the importance of having a judicial system that reflects the population it serves, past presidents have made concerted efforts to nominate and appoint judges who reflected a wide array of backgrounds and experiences. Unfortunately, the current administration has set back those efforts substantially.

Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion on the lack of federal judges representing historically underrepresented groups and different professional experiences, as well as what the courts’ lack of diversity means for litigants, legal decisions, and the justice system as a whole.

Opening remarks:
Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Center for American Progress

Featured panelists:
Dean Danielle Holley-Walker, Professor of Law and Dean, Howard University School of Law
Ganesh Sitaraman, Professor of Law and Director of the Program in Law and Government, Vanderbilt University
Sharon M. McGowan, Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director, Lambda Legal
Andrea Senteno, Washington D.C. Regional Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)

Moderator:
Christopher Kang, Co-Founder and Chief Counsel, Demand Justice

Location

Center For American Progress, 1333 H Street Northwest, Washington, DC, USA

Additional information

Light lunch will be served.

Accessibility:

Closed-captioned-enabled video will be posted following the conclusion of the event.
If you require ADA-related accommodations for your in-person attendance at this event, please email events@americanprogress.org as soon as possible so that we may assist you.