The nation’s federal judiciary is undergoing some changes, courtesy of President Barack Obama.
For more than 140 years, there were no females or minorities among the nation’s federal judges.
Now, nearly three of every four people Obama has gotten confirmed to the federal bench are women or minorities, according to the Associated Press.
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.
Reportedly, The White House has been touting its efforts to diversify the federal bench during Obama’s time in office.
Obama is the first president who hasn’t selected a majority of white males for lifetime judgeships, exceeding the diversity percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton, 48.1 percent; and George W. Bush, 32.9 percent,according to the Associated Press.
The president won Senate confirmation of the first Latina to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and with the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan, he increased the number of women on the high court to three for the first time.
Additionally, the Obama administration also nominated and won confirmation of the first openly gay man to a federal judgeship: former Clinton administration official J. Paul Oetken, to an opening in New York City.
Meanwhile, Asian-American Denny Chin was appointed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
Chin is the only active Asian federal appeals court judge.
On Oct. 1, The Advocate reported on the appointment of Corpus Christi federal judge Nelva Ramos.
A Port Lavaca native, Ramos is the youngest of six children born to Mexican immigrants.
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, according to the Associated Press.
By comparison, of the 322 judges confirmed during George W. Bush’s presidency, 18 percent were minorities and 22 percent were female. Of the 372 judges confirmed during Clinton’s terms, 25 percent were minorities and 29 percent were women.
Currently, there are 94 vacancies in the federal courts, with 55 nominees awaiting Senate action.
P.S. In case you were wondering, I just read that the MLK Memorial Dedication has been formally rescheduled for Oct. 16th.
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