In Print: Volume 87: Number 5
By Carl Tobias
87 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1197 (2010)
Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment was historic. She is the first Latina Supreme Court member and President Barack Obama’s initial appointment. Her confirmation is the quintessential example of his commitment to increasing ethnic and gender diversity in the judiciary; it epitomizes how the administration has nominated and appointed people of color and women to the appellate and district courts. Enhancing diversity honors valuable goals. Selection across a presidency’s initial fifteen months also creates the tone. These ideas suggest that the nascent administration’s judicial selection merits evaluation, which this paper conducts. Part I briefly assesses modern chief executives’ divergent records in naming minority and female judges. Part II descriptively and critically evaluates the Administration’s practices for choosing those jurists and the success realized. Ascertaining that Obama expeditiously nominated many well-qualified persons of color and women but the Senate approved few, the last portion offers recommendations for swift confirmation.