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84 Judicature 256 (2000-2001)
Clinton and Diversification of the Federal Judiciary

handle is hein.journals/judica84 and id is 258 raw text is: s the era of William J.
Clinton closed, it was clear
that one of the legacies of his
presidency will be the increased diver-
sity of the federal bench. Like Jimmy
Carter many years before him, Clinton
valued diversity and worked to create a
federal bench more reflective of soci-
RORIE L. SPILL is an assistant
professor of political science at
the University of Northern Iowa
assistant professor of political
science at Louisiana State University
ety. The increased numbers of nontra-
ditional nominees have been well
documented by scholars, as have their
backgrounds and qualifications. This
article moves beyond the aggregate
256 Judicature   Volume 84, Number 5

level and examines the pattern of ap-
pointments in the Clinton presidency
across both the courts of appeals and
the district courts. It investigates
whether the increase in diversity came
about through the exercise of a color-
and sex-blind strategy, or whether
Clinton was more likely to create diver-
sity under certain conditions.
The appointment of women and mi-
norities to the federal bench is still a
relatively new phenomenon. It is only
as more women and minorities are
available and qualified to fill these lofty
positions that we can assess whether
presidents consider existing diversity
when filling vacancies.2 On the surface,
presidents may express concern about
or prioritize diversity; however, their
actual appointments may serve to pro-
vide a token level of diversity across
courts rather than simply appointing
qualified minorities and women with-

out concern for an overall pattern of
Anecdotal evidence at the federal
level suggests that the appointment
This paper was prepared for presentation at the
annual meetings of the Law and Society Associa-
tion and Research Committee on Sociology of
Law (ISA) in Budapest, Hungary July 4-7, 2001.
The authors wish to acknowledge the adept re-
search assistance provided by Laura Stockel of
the University of Northern Iowa.
1. For example, see Goldman and Slotnick,
Clinton's First Term Judiciary: Many Bridges to Cross,
80JuMcATuR 254 (1997); Segal, The decision mak-
ing of Clinton's nontraditionaljudicial appointees, 80
JUDICAURE 279 (1997); Segal, Representative Deci-
sion Making on the Federal Bench: Clinton's District
Court Appointees, 53 Pot.. Rrs. Q. 137 (2000);
Stidham, et al., The voting behavior of President
Clinton's judicial appointees, 80 JUDICATURE 16
2. While it has been suggested that delays by
the Senate stalled Clinton's minority and female
nominees, and such a trend could affect our
analysis, Hartley shows that while Clinton's nomi-
nees were slowed, the pattern is similar to other
presidents dealing with a Senate controlled by
the opposition. See Hartley, Senate delay of minority
judicial nominees: a look at race, gender, and experi-
ence, 84 JUDIATURE 190 (2001).

March-April 2001

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