Uncategorized

New Obama court appointee: A positive sign for NC?

With the in-state news so universally dreadful this week, a body is forced to look elsewhere to find some shreds of hope.

Here’s at least one non-NC item that might even portend something good for our state: Today, President Obama appointed an excellent lawyer named Jane Kelley to the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. As you may or may not already know, the Eighth Circuit is headquartered in Kansas City and covers seven Midwestern states: Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Here’s another fact about the Eighth Circuit: In the history of that court, there have been 57 justices. Of that number, 56 have been men. We’re not making this up. 

The President’s selection of Kelly will make it two out of 58 — still awful, but, hey, 3.4% is better than 1.8%. It’s a start, anyway.

And what is the implication for North Carolina, you ask?

Well, consider this: In the history of our state, there have been 51 federal District Court judges (the trial court judges who are also appointed by the President). Of that number, exactly two have been men of color and two have been white women. The other 47 have been white men.

Right now, there is a vacancy in the Eastern District of the state that has been sitting vacant for years. No federal judge of color has ever sat in that district. Of course, eastern North Carolina is also home to a higher proportion of African-American people than any other part of the state. Many counties have Black populations that exceed 50%.

By any fair assessment, the time for breaking the current abysmal pattern is long overdue. Let’s hope Kelly’s mold-shattering appointment in the Eighth Circuit is a harbinger of a similar development in North Carolina, and soon. 

 

 

 

 

 

Check Also

The best post-Charlottesville observations of the weekend

There were (and continue to be) lots of ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement refuses to disclose any details of probe into alle [...]

Senate favors form of merit selection for judges as alternative to House judicial redistricting bill [...]

North Carolinians hoping to find out who’s been funding Rep. Justin Burr’s crusade this legislative [...]

The SePro Corporation is receiving as much as $1.3 million in taxpayer money to chemically kill the [...]

900 million---amount in dollars of the cost of the tax cuts passed this year when they are fully in [...]

Mixed and confusing signals from NC GOPers on confederate monuments Senate President Pro Tem Phil Be [...]

Here is something you probably haven’t heard much lately, if at all, given the shocking news from Ch [...]

Lawmakers to return to Raleigh yet again; agenda may include dangerous “de-reg” proposal The North C [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more