Study Spotlights Changing Federal Judiciary

Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s historic elevation to become the first Hispanic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court is proof of shifts in that court’s demographic makeup, but what about the rest of the federal judiciary?

The Brookings Institution weighs in with a report that identifies significant change in the federal judiciary nationwide. It identifies three trends since the 1950s that Justice Sotomayor has been part of: a higher proportion of women; an increased proportion of racial and ethnic minorities; and a declining proportion of U.S. district judges appointed from private practitioners, as she was initially.

At the same time the changing face of the federal judiciary “hardly mirrors the general population and probably not the applicant pool,” according to the Brookings report, written¬†by Russell Wheeler.

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