Trump on course for least di­verse ju­di­cial choices since Rea­gan

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Nation/World - By Todd Ruger

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s picks for fed­eral judge­ships re­flect a strik­ingly dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion when it comes to di­ver­sity on the bench — it is the most white and male group of nom­i­nees in re­cent his­tory.

So far, 91 per­cent of Trump’s 58 ju­di­cial nom­i­nees for dis­trict and ap­peals courts are white, a pace that would make his ap­pointees the least di­verse since the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics com­piled by the lib­eral ad­vo­cacy group Al­liance for Jus­tice. Only 19 per­cent of his picks are women, a pace that would make his ap­pointees the most male since the Ge­orge H.W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Com­pare that to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who made adding di­ver­sity to the fed­eral benches a pri­or­ity in his ju­di­cial se­lec­tion process. Of his 329 ap­pointees, 64 per­cent are white, the low­est per­cent­age of any pres­i­dent. Forty-two per­cent are women, the high­est of any pres­i­dent, ac­cord­ing to the Al­liance sta­tis­tics.

Trump’s “nearly ex­clu­sive fo­cus on white males” will only serve to un­der­mine the gen­eral pub­lic’s con­fi­dence in the jus­tice sys­tem when they en­ter a court­room, said Nan Aron, founder and pres­i­dent of Al­liance for Jus­tice.

“Di­ver­sity only en­hances one’s con­fi­dence in his or her abil­ity to ap­pear be­fore in­di­vid­u­als who have open minds, dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences,” Aron said.

Trump’s shift back to­ward a whiter, more male bench comes amid sim­mer­ing racial ten­sions across the na­tion that have been stoked by the pres­i­dent. He has crit­i­cized pro­fes­sional foot­ball play­ers who kneel dur­ing the na­tional an­them to draw at­ten­tion to how law en­force­ment treats mi­nori­ties. He told re­porters there were bad ac­tors on “both sides” of a vi­o­lent clash be­tween white su­prem­a­cist pro­test­ers and coun­ter­protesters over the re­moval of a statue of Con­fed­er­ate gen­eral Robert E. Lee in Char­lottesville, Va.

Trump has re­peat­edly re­ferred to “our her­itage” when speak­ing about Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments, such as when he backed Repub­li­can Ed Gille­spie in a tweet that said the can­di­date for Vir­ginia gov­er­nor could “save our great statutes/her­itage!”

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