Though four of the six federal judges confirmed this week by the U.S. Senate were women, advocates for women in the legal field are saying there's still a long way to go before women will have gained their rightful role in the federal judiciary.
“It will certainly take time as vacancies occur to have a judiciary that does have more diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and that certainly includes a diverse pool of women on the bench,” said Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, in an interview Wednesday.
According to a fact sheet put out by the center, the percentages of women judges on the federal bench is still small, despite the increase of female judicial nominees put forth by President Barack Obama.
Four of the 112 Supreme Court Justices have been women, or just under 4%, for example. Forty-nine of 162 active judges in the 13 federal courts of appeals, equaling 30%, currently are female, and 28% of active federal district or trial judges also are women.
Greenberger said that speeding up the confirmation process in the Senate also would be beneficial for judiciary diversity, noting that Obama has nominated 72 women out of 158 judicial nominations, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s website.
Of these 72 women judicial candidates, 14 are black, 10 are Hispanic and five are Asian-American. There are also 64 women of color serving as active federal judges around the country, according to the center's fact sheet, including 34 African-Americans, 24 Hispanics and six Asian-Americans.
“Lawyers around the country, especially women lawyers, should be speaking up to their bar associations to weigh in and get the process” moving forward, Greenberger said.
By LeighAnne Manwarren