Nearly a decade ago, then judge Sonia Sotomayer gave a speech at the U.C. Berkeley Law School and asked a simple question: “What it all will mean to have more women and people of color on the bench?” This article places Justice Sotomayer’s perceptive question in historical context by providing a demographic profile of the gender and race of federal judges confirmed to the bench from September 24, 1789 through January 13, 2011. The paper focuses principally upon federal courts of general jurisdiction, specifically, the Supreme Court, the various Courts of Appeal and the federal district courts. After presenting historical data, the article summarizes some reasons why the Executive Branch and the Senate should conscientiously cooperate to create a more diverse federal judiciary.

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