President Barack Obama and the federal court
David L. Horne | , Ph.D. | 9/14/2011, 5 p.m.
In yet another slap of facts to the face of those quick to whine and complain, but too laid-back to do much research, the latest reports from the Federal Courts Register have articulated a rarely known but easily found bit of information: President Barack Obama, in two years, has nominated and gotten approved a higher percentage of non-White federal judges than any previous president of the United States.
That percentage would have been even higher had not partisan politics from Republican senators severely slowed the process of ratification of President Obama's nominees.
As of September 2011, at least 96 Obama nominees to the federal court (federal district, circuit and Supreme) have been confirmed, including two women to the Supreme Court, 20 circuit court judges, and 74 district court judges. President Obama also elevated a current female justice to be chief judge of federal claims court, doubled the number of Asian Americans on the federal bench, nominated the first Native American to a federal judgeship, and appointed the first African American female member of the federal circuit court in Ohio (who had also been the first African American female federal bankruptcy judge). There are 55 nominees already submitted to the Senate awaiting ratification votes, and at least 94 more federal court vacancies. In all, there are more than 810 federal court justices appointed by sitting presidents, based on the confirmation of the U.S. Senate.
One senator can block a judicial nomination from getting a full Senate vote to confirm or deny the appointment, and Republican senators have utilized that authority vigorously with this president. Yet, a truly outstanding record has still been achieved thus far, and it should only multiply in the future.
Of those nominated and confirmed, according to the White House, 21 percent are African American, 11 percent are Hispanic, 7 percent are Asian American, and 47 percent are women.
Just by comparison (although this is from higher numbers based on eight years in office), the younger George Bush did 18 percent minority appointments of federal judges and 22 percent women (out of 322 appointments), and Mr. Clinton did 25 percent minority and 29 percent women (out of 372 appointments). Experts on the federal court have said that 3 out of 4 of Obama's judicial appointments have been either women or ethnic minorities, and he is the first president in history not to have appointed a majority of White males to the federal bench. Thus far, more than 70 percent of Obama's federal appointments to the bench have not been White men.
In other words, Obama seems committed to diversifying the federal courts. He has already nominated more ethnic minorities and women to the federal bench than the number there when he took office.
But what does this matter to the Black poor, hungry and both underemployed and unemployed?
The latest government statistics on overall American poverty and the crisis in Black poverty rates is very sobering. If we listen to the shrill squeals and chirps of Black 'nabobs of negativity,' the president and his administration are doing little, if anything, to relieve the suffering of the Black poor.