Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Latino Groups Push Biden to Nominate More Latino Judges

Several Latino legal and civil rights organizations are pushing for more Latino nominees to the federal bench, arguing that President Biden’s first nominees, which only includes one Latina, is completely unacceptable and that it falls short of his statements that federal courts “should reflect the full diversity of the American people.”

Biden’s list includes three Black women, one Muslim American man, and Regina Rodriguez, a Latina Asian woman. The announcement was mentioned as “groundbreaking” by the media and progressive groups. However, the sentiment was not shared by several Latino civil rights leaders.

Thomas Saenz, President of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund stated, “the fact that the administration chose to roll out this first group without more Latinos is indicative of the low priority of Latinos to them. We are the largest racial or ethnic group, and we are getting the least? We can’t accept that.”

According to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, as of 2020 Latinos were 6% of appeal judges and 7% of district judges. However, Latinos are about 18% of the U.S. population, making them the largest racial and ethnic group in the country.

Five of the 13 federal appeals court have no active Latino judges and the DC appeals court has never had a Latino judge. The DC court is significant because it often deals with administrative and constitution law as well as it is viewed as a steppingstone to the Supreme Court.

Juan Cartagena, President of LatinoJustice PRLDEF stated, “It is important to have Latinx judges because perspective matters, and Latinos are disproportionately represented among those drawn into the federal criminal justice system. When you are a group that doesn’t see yourself in the halls of power, it can make a difference.” He further added that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a positive role model for youths so they can see themselves in the legal profession and in the justice system.