On the importance of diversity in the judiciary, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor once noted: “a different perspective can permit you to more fully understand the arguments that are before you and help you articulate your position in a way that everyone will understand.” The United States has a vast, diverse population with people from many different backgrounds who have gone through many different experiences. The federal judiciary does not reflect this diversity.
A diverse bench affords judges the opportunity to exchange ideas and understand different points of view, a benefit that is impossible when the bench is monolithic. A diverse bench is also a good safeguard against unconscious and institutional biases because it exposes judges to different ways of thinking. Judges make decisions all the time that affect people’s lives. A judiciary that reflects the population can garner the respect of the citizenry, lending credibility and fostering the legitimacy of its decisions. In a time when public confidence in governmental institutions is waning, it is important that public trust in the judiciary remain robust. For these reasons, the make-up of the judiciary should reflect the make-up of the people whom the judiciary affects. This is not the case today.
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