During the 1992 presidential election campaign, Governor William Jefferson Clinton pledged to increase the numbers and percentages of women and minorities on the federal bench while appointing judges who are highly intelligent, demonstrate balanced judicial temperament, and exhibit a commitment to enforcing constitutional rights. The record of judicial selection that President Clinton compiled in his first term as Chief Executive shows that he honored these campaign commitments. President Clinton chose federal judges who make the judiciary's composition more closely resemble the American populace and who possess excellent qualifications.
The Clinton Administration named unprecedented numbers and percentages of very capable female and minority lawyers in the first half of its initial term, although it was less successful during the second half-term, partly because the Republican Party captured a Senate majority in 1994. Numerous observers of the federal courts and judicial appointments, therefore, wondered whether the Chief Executive would continue to choose more women and minorities for the courts. Now that President Clinton has completed the initial year of his final term, judicial selection in the second administration deserves assessment. This Essay undertakes that effort by focusing on the appointment of female and minority federal judges.
Part I of this Essay evaluates how the Chief Executive chose judges during his first term. This Section asserts that the President enunciated clear objectives for appointments and instituted effective procedures, particularly by undertaking special efforts to seek out, identify, and nominate talented women and minorities. Part II of this Essay then examines the selection process during the opening year of the Clinton Administration's second term, emphasizing those features that were different. This analysis reveals that the Chief Executive continued to nominate many highly qualified female and minority candidates but enjoyed less success in having them confirmed. The Essay concludes by suggesting that the President implement additional measures to foster the appointment of substantial numbers of women and minorities over the next three years.
Carl Tobias, Fostering Balance on the Federal Courts, 47 Am. U. L. Rev. 935 (1998)