Clinton Diversifying Federal Judiciary 59 Percent of President's Choices for Bench Have Been Women or Minorities

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FOURTEEN LAWYERS whom President Bill Clinton has tapped for lifetime federal jobs gathered recently at Denver's historic Brown Palace Hotel for a one-week orientation course known as "Baby Judges School."

The class had an extraordinary look. Only two members were white men. Of the remainder, five members were women; 10 were minorities.

They are part of an unprecedented racial and gender diversification of the federal judiciary that Clinton has crafted with the cooperation of congressional Democrats.

Where his Republican predecessors filled the judiciary with white males, Clinton is adhering to a campaign promise to appoint more women and minorities to the bench than any other president in history.

Through the end of August, 59 percent of Clinton's nominees to federal district and appeals court judgeships - 74 of 126 - had been women or minorities. Thirty-eight picks were women; 36 were minority males.

"It's really a stunning achievement," said Sheldon Goldman, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst who has studied Clinton's judicial record. "He's remaking the ethnic and demographic makeup of the judiciary."

By comparison, the last two Republican presidents, Ronald Reagan and George Bush, allotted 14 percent and 28 percent, respectively, of their total judicial picks to women and minority males. …


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