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