During the 1992 campaign for the presidency, then Governor Bill Clinton promised to appoint judges who would increase balance on the federal courts, would be intelligent, would possess appropriate judicial temperament, and would be committed to enforcing fundamental constitutional rights. The record compiled during the first Clinton Administration demonstrates that the Chief Executive fulfilled his campaign pledges by choosing judges who more closely reflected American society and who were well qualified. President Clinton named an unprecedented number and percentage of highly competent women and minorities to the federal courts; however, in the second two years of his first term in office, he enjoyed less success partly because the Republican Party controlled the Senate. Thus, at the outset of the second term of the Clinton presidency, it was unclear whether the Chief Executive would continue to appoint many female and minority attorneys. Now that the Clinton Administration has reached the mid-point in its concluding term, judicial selection in 1998 warrants analysis. This essay undertakes that effort by emphasizing the appointment of women and minorities.

Because the President made minimal changes to procedures used in his first term for choosing judges in 1998, the initial part of this essay thoroughly assesses judicial selection in that administration. I determine that the Chief Executive articulated clear goals and implemented effective processes, especially by searching for, designating and nominating extremely able female and minority lawyers. The piece next evaluates appointments in the second year of the last Clinton Administration, scrutinizing the aspects that departed from past practice. This examination suggests that President Clinton continued submitting the names of numerous women and minorities with excellent qualifications but experienced some difficulty in having them confirmed. Based on these findings, I, therefore, recommend that the Chief Executive institute certain actions that should promote the appointment of many female and minority judges in the final half term.

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Carl Tobias, Leaving a Legacy on the Federal Courts, 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 315 (1999)

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