Obama's 2nd-Term Mission: Appoint Diverse Judges

GOP likely to delay the process

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 4, 2013 9:23 AM CST

(Newser) – Of the 35 judicial nominees currently awaiting confirmation by the Senate, 17 are women; 15 are members of ethnic minorities; five are openly gay. Just six are straight white guys. After what the Washington Post refers to as the "sluggish pace" of President Obama's first-term appointments, the second-term candidates, named since January, illustrate his desire to diversify the federal judiciary so that it better mirrors the country it serves. The administration's push isn't entirely new: Four states already have their first female justices.

In fact, the overall first-term breakdown of Obama's confirmed judges is 37% non-white and 42% women; both percentages are higher than those of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. But he's "moving quickly," this time around, observes the Post, which expects a substantial number of candidates to be named in the coming months. But to some it sniffs of affirmative action: It's all fine and good if Obama is "achieving [diversity] through aggressive identification of minority candidates," says a conservative Obama critic who runs a judicial advocacy group. But if the administration is giving minorities "a lower threshold of qualifications," that's not OK, he says. The aggressive push is sure to meet resistance; Senate Republicans have been known to block judicial confirmations for years in some cases.

President Barack Obama and new Supreme Court Justice Justice Sonia Sotomayor enter the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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