Gavel Grab

JAS, Other Groups Urge Professional Diversity on Bench

Justice at Stake was among more than 30 organizations writing a letter that urges U.S. senators to consider professional diversity when considering judicial candidates.

JAS-LogoThe letter contending that a greater diversity of professional backgrounds is needed on the federal courts was signed by labor, civil rights and good government groups, Federal Times reported. The letter stated in part:

“A truly diverse judiciary … not only reflects the gender, ethnic, sexual orientation, disability, and racial diversity of the nation, but also includes judges who come from all corners of the legal profession — and particularly those who have worked in the public interest, representing those whose voices are otherwise rarely heard. This sort of professional diversity both enhances judicial decisionmaking and is essential to the public’s trust in our justice system.

“Like all human beings, judges are the product of their background and experiences, including their professional lives before taking the bench. When a judge decides whether a claim is ‘plausible,’ or whether a witness is ‘credible,’ or whether police officers, when they stopped and searched a pedestrian, acted ‘reasonably,’ her determination is necessarily influenced by the nature of her work as a lawyer up to that point. Thus, when judges have varied professional backgrounds, they are equipped to understand the views of each litigant before them, and to render more informed, thorough decisions.”

To learn more about why diversity on the bench is important, see the JAS web page on the topic.

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