Despite the fact that women make up over half of law school graduates, they are severely under-represented on the bench of state and federal courts. But this week marked a step to change that as the Senate confirmed six new judicial nominees, four of whom were women.
More importantly, it continues the remarkable efforts of the Obama administration to diversify the federal bench. The confirmation of these women brings the total number of women confirmed to the federal bench during the Obama administration to 50, representing 47% of all confirmed nominees.
Two of these nominees made history in their jurisdictions. Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown will be the first African-American woman on the Eastern District of Louisiana and Judge Nancy Torrensen will be the first woman to sit on the federal district court bench of Maine.
While we celebrate these accomplishments we cannot overlook the need to press on. When I first started arguing cases a decade ago it was assumed that nearly every courtroom I entered would have a man on the bench. That is slowly starting to change, and justice is better served for it.
Women judges bring a necessarily different perspective to the parties that appear before them. It’s a diversity of opinion, background and experience that rightly reflects the diversity of this country. Our federal judiciary was designed to be a place of grievance for citizens–an arbitrator of justice for the individual when faced against the power of the state or the power of the corporation. We’ve seen what a homogenous bench has done to giving citizens their day in court. Congratulations to these fine jurists and to the Obama administration for advancing the cause of justice in the federal judiciary.
Photo from steakpinball via flickr.