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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Racing for Votes

AP US Government and Politics

When an area is over 85% White, how does that affect support for Trump?

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  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this chart tell?

  3. Why is that?

  4. What is a consequence of this.

  5. How much did race impact the 2016 election?

  6. This chart comes from a New York Times article by Thomas Edsall. Here is a quote from the article: Dravosburg, Pa. is a small — population 1,746 — working-class suburb that lies along the Monongahela River 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. If we want to understand what actually propelled Donald Trump to victory last November, presidential voting patterns there provide a vital clue. In 2012, Dravosburg backed Barack Obama over Mitt Romney 441 to 312, or 53.4 percent to 44.8 percent. Four years later, the men and women of Dravosburg abandoned their Democratic loyalties and backed Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, 56.3 to 41.1. In that light, look more closely at Dravosburg. In 2000, according to the United States Census Bureau, 1,989 out of 2,015 residents — 98.7 percent — were white; 10 were black; and 12 were Hispanic. By 2016, the census reported, the total population had fallen to 1,746 — 95.4 percent of them white. The number of blacks and Hispanics, still tiny, had grown rapidly, however, to 39 (a 290 percent increase), and to 25 (a 108 percent increase). What does this excerpt of the story mean to you?

  7. And how did this demographic change impact the election in Davosborg and other White super-majority enclaves?

  8. There have been studies showing that Americans who live in close proximity to diverse America (immigrants, refugees,  Muslims, etc.) have little fear of these groups, whereas people who live farther away from these groups feared them the most. Here;s a quote from Thomas Edsall, the author of the article this data comes from. "Put another way, anger, fear and animosity toward immigrants and minorities was most politically potent in the communities most insulated from these supposed threats." Why do you think that is?

  9. How much do you think fear drives politics?

  10. Had Donald Trump not been specifically racist and anti-immigrant do you think he would have won white enclaves like Dravosborg in the 2016 election?

  11. What specific rhetoric from the Trump campaign would the people of Dravosborg been especially excited about?

  12. What specific policy promises from the Trump campaign would the people of Dravosborg been especially excited about?

  13. How do you think residents of places like Dravosborg currently evaluate the success of President Trump in enacting the rhetoric or policy promises from the campaign?

  14. Explain whether many people in Dravosborg and Elks County have read this article by Thomas Edsall or regualrly read the New York Times?

  15. Do you think the folks from Dravosborg and Elks County will vote for Trump again in 2020?

  16. In 2012, Dravosburg backed Barack Obama over Mitt Romney 441 to 312, or 53.4 percent to 44.8 percent. Why do you think the residents of Dravosburg voted for Obama? And why did they like Trump more than Romney?

  17. Did you know that Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for President in 2012 got more votes than Trump got in 2016? I did. Here's how many more votes he got: Trump won 45.93 percent of the total vote last year, 1.2 percentage points less than Romney’s 47.1 percent in 2012. How could Trump have done worse than Romney and also won the election?

  18. If all these super-white enclaves were in super-Republican states like Idaho it would not have mattered as much. What do you think happened in super-White enclaves in swing states?*

  19. Given the racism and xenophobia of places like Dravosborg, explain whether you believe Democrats could possibly defeat Trump in 2020?

  20. Edsall writes, "The core of Trump’s support lies in counties and municipalities like Dravosburg and Elk County, many of which are losing population. They are, in effect, the last gasp of white hegemony." Do you think he's right or will white hegemony continue in America?

Learning Extension

Read Edsall's White-On-White Voting story.

Action Extension

Do one of the following.

Try to make a connection to someone who lives in a place like Dravosburg or Elk County, mostly separate from the growing diversification of America, and explain to them how diversity has impacted your life.

Have you ever integrated a 85% plus white area? Share your story in class or online.

Make a comment on the comments section of the Thomas Edsall article. Share your comment in class or online.

Bonus Chart*

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Bonus Caption Contest

Look at the photograph below. Imagine a thought bubble above the baby in Trump's arms. What's the baby thinking? "Goodnight White Hegemony!" "I see White People!" or something like that. Or get super creative and make the thought bubble coming out of President Trump's head. Share your comment in the comments section below. The best comment will win a certificate of commendation and widespread praise on this website!

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