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racial diversity, judges, judicial diversity


The lack of racial diversity on our nation’s courts threatens both the quality and legitimacy of judicial decision-making. Traditional arguments emphasizing the “role model” value of black judges and the need for black judges to help promote “public confidence” in the justice system have turned our attention away from the most important justification for judicial diversity: Diversity on the bench can enrich judicial decision-making by including a variety of voices and perspectives in the deliberative process. In this Article, the Author advocates racial diversity among judges as a critical means of achieving cultural pluralism in judicial decision-making.

Judicial diversity advocates have failed specifically and precisely to connect the demand for cultural pluralism in judicial decision-making to racial diversity efforts. Fear of tackling the myth of judicial impartiality and the failure to recognize the representative function of judges has resulted in an over-emphasis on the symbolic rather than the substantive value of judicial diversity. The Author ultimately concludes that our diversity efforts should focus on ensuring that judges who can and are willing to represent the values and perspectives of minority communities are represented on the bench, rather than focusing exclusively on the race of a judicial aspirant.



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