New Resource: Promoting Diversity in Selecting Federal Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges

August 7, 2017

New York, NY – Today, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and the American Bar Association Judicial Division released a manual that provides concrete guidance on the steps courts can take to increase diversity among federal magistrate and bankruptcy judges.
 
While the federal judiciary overall has become more diverse, magistrate and bankruptcy courts continue to lag behind. Federal judges appoint and re-appoint magistrate and bankruptcy judges, so the judiciary itself can address this problem.
 
Building A Diverse Bench: Selecting Federal Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges focuses on simple changes that can strengthen the applicant pool and the candidates selected for judgeships. Recognizing the already-heavy workload of federal courts, it outlines a set of best practices recommended by an advisory committee of federal circuit court, district court, magistrate, and bankruptcy judges, as well as circuit executives, clerks of court, and other court experts.
 
“Judicial diversity is one essential, though certainly not the only, step in making our promise of equal justice a reality,” writes foreword author Hon. Frank J. Bailey, a judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts. “Judges must understand the wide variety of life experiences and views that make up our pluralistic society, and diverse colleagues assist judges in achieving that understanding.”
 
The manual includes an assessment of the current state of judicial diversity and its value to the justice system. It includes best practices for every stage of a court’s selection process, including pipeline-building, recruitment, vetting, deliberations, and voting.
 
“Judges’ personal and professional experiences affect how they approach the cases that come before them,” writes Kate Berry, the author of Building a Diverse Bench and former counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Bringing diverse perspectives to bear fosters decision-making that reflects the experiences of the whole population, resulting in better jurisprudence.”
 
“Building public trust in our American justice system is crucial,” said ABA President Linda A. Klein. “The surest way to do that is to make sure our judiciary reflects the nation’s population, in all its diversity.”
 
Read the manual here.
 
See more on the Brennan Center’s Fair Courts work here.
 
See ABA policy on judicial diversity here.

To schedule an interview with a Brennan Center expert please contact Rebecca Autrey at rebecca.autrey@nyu.edu or 646-292-8316. 

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