Obama’s Push For Court #Diversity Hits Snag

(WMAZ) President Obama came into office determined to stop the rightward shift of the federal courts – after eight years of appointments by President Bush – and to add more diversity to the bench.

So far he is setting records for the number of women and minorities nominated to lifetime appointments. Nearly half of the 73 candidates he has tapped for the bench have been women. In all, 25% have been African Americans, 10% Hispanics and 11% Asian Americans.

“What’s happening so far with nominations is extraordinary,” says Sheldon Goldman, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, who has tracked the confirmation process since the 1960s. “Seven out of 10 Obama court nominees are non-traditional,” meaning they have not been white men.

Yet as Obama tries to make gains in diversity among judges, he faces a deeply polarized confirmation process in the Senate. During his first 18 months in office, his administration has been thwarted by unprecedented delays. The situation, which has received little notice against the backdrop of a pending Supreme Court nomination and the administration’s complex legislative agenda, could undercut Obama’s effort to significantly infuse the federal courts with more women and minorities.

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