President Donald Trump has nominated 87 federal judges for positions across the country. Of those 87 nominees, 80 are white. The other seven nominees consist of one African-American, one Hispanic, and five Asian-Americans.
The last four presidents filled at least 10% of the open seats with black or Hispanic nominees. Trump’s nominees, which are 92% white, hearken back to the days of Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s confirmed judges were 94% white. Since Reagan’s presidency, minority enrollment in law schools has tripled.
President of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Kristen Clarke, says about the nominees, “It is most unfortunate. It turns the clock back on years of work and effort that went into promoting judicial diversity.”
Trump’s racism is noticeable in the nation’s courts. The 5th Circuit appeals court, which includes Texas, had 3 Hispanic judges during Obama’s presidency, but now has none. Texas’s population is nearly 40% Hispanic. The 7th Circuit appeals court, which includes Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, has no minority judges at all, even though Illinois is about 40% minority, and Indiana and Wisconsin are 20% minority.
It is possible that the Trump administration isn’t passing over qualified minority judges, but are simply nominating those who they find to be sufficiently conservative. But even this is a problem.
Obama’s former White House deputy counsel, Christopher Kang, sums up the issue perfectly, saying, “If the conservative judicial philosophy is so alienating to people of color, who will soon be a majority in this country, I think that’s an indictment of that judicial philosophy itself.” So either Trump is a racist, or his ideology is racist. Either way, it is unsurprising that a rich white man can only see the worth of other white men.