If you have time this morning, try and catch the livestream of this event at 9:30, “Broadening the Bench: Judicial Nominations and Professional Diversity,” a program co-sponsored by the Alliance of Justice and a host of other organizations, with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as key speaker.
The event coincides with the release of a report which emphasizes the need to fill the many judicial vacancies across the country with judges who are demographically and professionally diverse.
A truly diverse judiciary is one that not only reflects the gender, ethnic, sexual orientation, and racial diversity of the nation, but is also comprised of judges who have been advocates for clients across the socio-economic spectrum, seeking justice on behalf of everyday Americans. As this report details, the federal judiciary is currently lacking in judges with experience (a) working for public interest organizations; (b) as public defenders or indigent criminal defense attorneys; and (c) representing individual clients—like employees or consumers or personal injury plaintiffs—in private practice.
Now it’s time to broaden the bench. Without the threat of a filibuster, and with more than 50 judicial vacancies currently waiting for a nominee, we have an extraordinary opportunity to increase experiential diversity on the federal courts. Importantly, the responsibility for this change extends beyond the President and the Senate, and lies with all those interested in the health of our justice system.
Other speakers include former Massachusetts federal judge Nancy Gertner and Sherrilyn Ifill, President, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.