Make the Judiciary Great Again

AP US Government and Politics

What portion of the federal judges that POTUS Trump has appointed are Black or Hispanic?

AP US Government and Politics

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. That's not a typo. The answer is ZERO. How surprising is that?

  3. How far back in time would you have to go to get a president who named no African-American or Hispanic federal judges?*

  4. From the presidency of Harry Truman through Barack Obama, what trend in judicial diversity do you see in this chart?

  5. Describe two causes of this trend:

  6. Describe two consequences of this trend?

  7. Is this trend good or bad news?

  8. How does the diversity of Donald Trump's federal court nominations compare to the trend?

  9. Why do you think Trump is reversing the trend and moving backwards?

  10. In an increasingly diverse country, do you think most Americans are supportive of a less diverse bench?

  11. In an increasingly diverse country, do you think most Trump supporters are supportive of a less diverse bench?

  12. How much do you think the diversity of Trump's appointments impacts Trump's current approval rating (40% approval; 54% disapproval on March 26, 2018)?

  13. Based on the chart, how does presidential political party affiliation impact the diversity of judicial selection?

  14. Evaluate the following statement (do you agree or disagree, and why?): diversity on the federal courts doesn't matter. 

  15. How do you think Trump's appointment of females to the federal judiciary compares to past presidents?**

  16. If you were president (you aren't) how much would you take diversity (racial and gender) into account when naming federal judges?

  17. Explain your opinion of the lack of diversity in Trump's nominees to the federal judges to the bench.

  18. What branch of government could do something to stop Trump from appointing so many White males to the federal court?

  19. What could they do?

  20. In your opinion, how much does Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again." have to do with race and making America White again?

Visual Extension**

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Historical Extension*

Berkeley La Raza Law Journal    100% White Male Appointments

Berkeley La Raza Law Journal

100% White Male Appointments

Washington’s appointments to federal courts of general jurisdiction established a national precedent. Over a span of 145 years, the thirty presidents who succeeded Washington made the same sex and race selections. As shown in the table below, the first thirty one American presidents appointed, and the Senate confirmed, 857 White men to federal courts of general jurisdiction.

To get to a president who appointed a smaller portion of Black or Hispanic federal judges you'd have to go back in time. Past Nixon, past Kennedy, past even Dwight. D Eisenhower or Harry S Truman. You'd have to go all the way back to Herbert Hoover (born 1874) to get a president who named zero Black or Hispanic judges.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed the first woman to serve as a federal judge on a court of general jurisdiction. On March 6, 1934, President Roosevelt nominated Florence Ellinwood Allen to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Senate confirmed Allen on March 15, 1934, and she received her commission six days later. Roosevelt also apoointed the firm African American male to the federal bench. Roosevelt modestly challenged racial segregation in the federal judiciary. He appointed an African American Harvard Law School graduate, William H. Hastie, to a four -year term as a federal judge in the U.S. Virgin Islands. With his appointment, Judge Hastie became the first man of color to serve on the federal bench.

Harry S. Truman became president upon Roosevelt’s death in 1945. Truman appointed Irvin Mollison, the first African American male federal judge to a court of general jurisdiction.

In 1960, Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed the first Asian federal judge, Cyrus Niles Tavares.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the first president to appoint more than two men of color to the federal bench. On March 24, 1961, slightly more than two months after assuming office, Kennedy nominated the first Latino candidate to the bench - Reynaldo Guerra Garza. The Senate confirmed him on April 13, 1961.

Learning Extension

Read the Pew Research Center's report on diversity in federal court appointments or take a really deep dive and read the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal report on the history of diversity in US federal courts.

Action Extension

Contact the POTUS and tell him what you think about his judicial appointments so white.


Make Puppies Great Again!

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Congress Do Little

AP US Government and Politics

How many laws were made under the 113th Congress (2013-2014)?

*as of March 29th, 2016, the 114th Congress had passed 139 laws

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story this chart tells?

  3. What is one explanation for this trend?

  4. What is one consequence of this trend?

  5. Is this trend good news or bad news?

  6. If this trend continues, how many laws will be made by the end of the 1114th Congress?

  7. Congressional incumbents are reelected at almost a 90% rate. Does that mean that the average American does not want Congress to make laws?

  8. What would the Framers of the Constitution think about this trend?

  9. **The presidents shown in red are Republican, the blue are Democrats. Presidents have to sign any bill passed by Congress. How much responsibility do presidents have for the trend in the number of laws passed?

  10. In the comments section, explain whether you think Congress should make more or less laws:

Learning Extension

**Check out the chart below:

Action Extension

Contact your Congressional representative with your explanation of whether they should make more or less laws:

Animal Rights to Bear Arms Extension

AP US Government and Politics