Demand Justice is fighting for a more diverse, representative judiciary at all levels. We believe judges must understand the legal challenges and life experiences of ordinary people. That means the judiciary needs to be diverse in terms of identity and experience, and it means we need judges with professional experience representing real people, not just former prosecutors and corporate lawyers.
President Biden is shattering records for diversity on the courts
President Biden is changing the face of the judiciary in America. In terms of race, gender, and professional diversity, he has appointed the most diverse group of judges in American history. From Justice Jackson all the way down to the district courts, Biden judges are breaking records and making history.
Biden’s Judges aren’t just diverse in terms of race and gender – they also bring a diversity of professional experiences. While past presidents of both parties have drawn judges disproportionately from the ranks of public defenders and civil rights lawyers, Biden has placed a strong emphasis on nominating former public defenders, civil rights lawyers, and legal aid lawyers.
You can read more about the diversity and individual biographies of Biden nominees here.
Supporting Justice Jackson’s confirmation
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is President Biden’s most important judicial nominee. She is the first Black woman and the first public defender to ever serve on the Supreme Court, and her confirmation cemented Biden’s legacy of bringing historic diversity to the courts.
Demand Justice backed Jackson from her nomination to the circuit court all the way through to the Supreme Court with ad campaigns, organizing, and rapid response communication. During Jackson’s confirmation hearing, Demand Justice partnered with over 100 Black law students and public defenders from across the country to rally for her confirmation in D.C. Watch here →
The movement for professional diversity
Demand Justice has long fought to restore balance to the courts by supporting a new focus on professional diversity. In 2019, Demand Justice called for a moratorium on the appointment of corporate law partners to federal judgeships to restore balance to the bench. You can read that case for professional diversity in The Atlantic here. Demand Justice’s call has been supported by a range of progressive organizations and stakeholders. You can see a list of supporting groups here.
To showcase the breadth of talent available to a president committed to professional diversity, in 2019 Demand Justice released its first ever Supreme Court shortlist.
Expanding the lower courts to improve diversity
Demand Justice supports proposals to expand the circuit and district courts, which would address workload problems that slow down cases and create an opportunity to diversify the courts along race, gender, and professional background. Read here for a list of the 46 organizations who have joined our call for lower court expansion to improve diversity.
Jobs, Judges, & Justice: Research On Why Professional Diversity Matters
Research shows that the overrepresentation of corporate lawyers and prosecutors has real-world consequences. Joanna M. Shepherd, Vice Dean and Thomas Simmons Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law, found that those types of lawyers are substantially more likely to rule against workers when they become judges. Read the full report here.
Demand Justice Institute
Demand Justice is committed to elevating lawyers who have put the fight for justice and equality at the center of their careers at the state level, too. The Demand Justice Institute is a state-based program for promising attorneys who have placed the fight for justice and equality at the center of their careers and who may be interested in becoming judges in the future. Participants will deepen their leadership skills, learn about what it takes to be a judge, and better understand challenges to achieving equal justice in our courts system.