Who Are Americans? Interactive Exercises

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Who Are Federal Judges?

One factor among many that presidents may take into account when selecting judicial nominees is diversity. The number of Supreme Court justices is relative small, so it is easy to count the number of African Americans who have served as Supreme Court justices (2), female justices (4), and Hispanic justices (1). The first section below shows the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of the lower federal courts. How diverse is the rest of the judicial system?

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1. According to the graphic, to what racial group do most federal judges belong? How many federal judges are members of that group?
2.
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How many federal judges are African American women? How many are Hispanic men?
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3.
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What percentage of the federal judges appointed during the presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson were white men? African American men?
4.
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Who appointed more Hispanics to the federal bench—George H. W. Bush or his son, George W. Bush? Who appointed more African Americans to the bench?
5.
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Did President Obama help diversify the judicial system? Why or why not?
6.
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What similarities and differences do you notice among the judicial appointments of the presidents shown? What might account for the differences in terms of the diversity of their appointees?
7.
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Which racial or ethnic groups are not represented in the numbers on these charts?
8.
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Would you describe the federal judiciary as diverse? Does racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of federal judges matter? Why or why not? How can diversity be promoted in the judicial system?

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