In President Bill Clinton's first year of service, he nominated unprecedented numbers and percentages of highly qualified women and minorities to the federal judiciary. The Clinton Administration correspondingly employed an effective process for choosing potential jurists that generated relatively little controversy.
Some wondered whether President Clinton could improve his first year judicial selection record during his second year in office, especially given the number of international conflicts and pressing domestic matters that faced the Administration. These complications threatened to deflect the Administration's attention from naming judges.
Now that the 103d Congress has adjourned and President Clinton has reached mid-term, the Administration's record of choosing judges should be evaluated to determine exactly what has been achieved. This Essay undertakes that effort by focusing on the appointment of female and minority attorneys to the federal bench.
I initially examine the recent history of judicial selection, concentrating on the selection policies of, and the numbers and percentages of women and minorities named, in the Carter, Reagan, and Bush Administrations. I then analyze the practices applied and the numbers and percentages of female and minority lawyers nominated and appointed to judgeships in the second year of the Clinton presidency.
I find that the Clinton Administration once again nominated and appointed record numbers and percentages of very competent women and minorities.I therefore conclude that the efficacious selection procedures instituted during the Chief Executive's first year of service continued to operate smoothly during his second year. The number of female and minority jurists nominated and confirmed testify to this.
I also determine that President Clinton filled an impressive number of the vacant judgeships and that his Administration bears little responsibility for the openings that remain. 8 Concluding that the processes which could lead to the appointment of even greater numbers and percentages of female and minority federal judges and to the elimination of all judicial vacancies are now firmly in place, I then explore why President Clinton should strive to attain these goals and how his Administration might achieve them.
Carl Tobias, Essay, Increasing Balance on the Federal Bench, 32 Hous. L. Rev. 137 (1995)