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Judicial Diversity: A Resource Page

Although diversity is an essential component of a fair and impartial judiciary, neither state nor federal courts reflect the diversity of the communities they serve or the legal profession. Below are selected resources from the Brennan Center, other organizations, scholars, and the government describing the current composition of our courts, identify best practices for promoting diversity, and clarify the current obstacles to achieving a diverse bench.

Published: September 12, 2017

Judi­cial Diversity Data

Data on the current compos­i­tion of the judi­ciary is crucial to under­stand­ing the scope of the prob­lem, propos­ing effect­ive solu­tions, and eval­u­at­ing the success of reform meas­ures. While the Federal Judi­cial Center main­tains a data­base of gender, race, and ethni­city inform­a­tion for the federal courts, states do not system­at­ic­ally collect or release this data for state courts. Below are links to data on diversity on the federal courts, as well as the limited publicly avail­able resources for diversity data from state courts and a report recom­mend­ing ways to increase the avail­ab­il­ity of such data.


Promot­ing Judi­cial Diversity

Diversity on courts reaps import­ant bene­fits. By focus­ing on these bene­fits, the values diversity furthers, and the concrete steps neces­sary to strengthen our systems of selec­tion and build path­ways for future candid­ates, we can promote diversity on both our state and federal courts. The follow­ing works by both academ­ics and advoc­ates high­light the bene­fits of diversity and the steps juris­dic­tions can take to prior­it­ize it.


Diversity and Judi­cial Selec­tion

Judi­cial selec­tion systems vary widely in the state and federal courts, so it is import­ant to under­stand how differ­ent struc­tures may impact the compos­i­tion of the judi­ciary. Shed­ding light on how judi­cial selec­tion func­tions in prac­tice helps illu­min­ate the obstacles to increas­ing judi­cial diversity and identify policy solu­tions.