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President Donald Trump and Federal Bench Diversity


Carl Tobias


May 7, 2018

President Donald Trump constantly reminds United States citizens about the myriad circuit and district court appointments that his White House is making to the federal judiciary. Last September, Trump proposed the seventh “wave,” which included three people of color among sixteen judicial nominees. This wave permitted the administration to triple the number of ethnic minority picks whom it had selected, which means that the Executive Branch has proffered ten persons of color in 113 appeals court and district court submissions, yet none is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) individual. Nevertheless, a problematic pattern, which implicates a stunning lack of ethnic-minority, LGBT, and female nominees rather swiftly arose, even though the administration is relatively nascent. Because when Trump captured the White House he pledged to serve as the President of all U.S. citizens, because diversity has great significance, and because the 140 current lower court vacancies provide an exceptionally rare opportunity, the striking paucity of minority representation in Trump’s federal court nominees deserves evaluation.
The initial section of this piece surveys why increased diversity is essential, detecting that improved minority representation enhances the quality of court opinions, confines ethnic, sexual-preference, and gender biases which undermine justice and expands public confidence in the judiciary. The segment also reviews how modern Presidents have addressed diversity when nominating and confirming jurists. The second part considers the record which the Trump White House has assembled, finding that it compiled the weakest one since President Ronald Reagan served when substantially fewer people of color, LGBT individuals or women were practicing lawyers. The third section analyzes the record’s consequences. Because the Trump presidency only commenced in 2017 and the executive has considerable time for treating this dearth, the final segment provides recommendations which might help place numerous minority, LGBT, and female jurists on the federal courts.


Carl Tobias, President Donald Trump and Federal Bench Diversity, 74 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 400 (2018).