As The Awl points out, while it may be interesting (if irrelevant) that the judge ruling on the Prop. 8 trial, Vaughn Walker, is gay, it is more remarkable that Walker is apparently just one of two homosexual federal judges in the U.S.
The Awl: Out of more than 1,000 federal judges in the country, there are only two that are known to be gay: Vaughn, and a federal trial court judge in Manhattan, Deborah Batts. Using the most conservative estimates of their share of the population (not to mention their share of the legal population!), gays are underrepresented on the federal bench by, at least, the dozens.
We’re not sure exactly how The Awl determined who was “known to be gay” — assumedly there are more judges like Walker who it is widely know they are gay, but it has just never been at issue. But, either way, these numbers are shockingly low.
Homosexuals aren’t the only minorities who are not represented on the country’s federal benches. White males make up 37% of the U.S. population and 70% of federal judges, according to a study by the Brookings Institute (below). This is a stark contrast to justices who are “women (17%), African-American (8%), or Hispanic (5%)” or Asian-American (less than 1%).
Obama has been slow to nominate federal judges, but his nominations have been more diverse than previous Presidents. His record: half women, 30% white male, 26% African-American, 14% Asian, 7% Hispanic.
While the makeup of the Supreme Court attracts heaps of attention, federal courts garner less despite their relative importance. The Supreme Court heard less than 100 cases in each of the last few years; the District Court in Manhattan heard 11,000 last year.
Read more at The Awl.
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