Bush's court appointments emphasized ideology over diversity

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, July 12 (ANI): A new analysis has indicated that the judicial appointments of former president George W. Bush suggest that his motivation for appointing nontraditional judges was driven more by ideology and strategy than concerns for diversity.

The analysis was done by Jennifer Segal Diascro, a professor of government at American University's School of Public Affairs, and Rorie Spill Solberg, a professor of political science at Oregon State University.

The examination of all the federal judicial appointments during the two terms of his presidency shows that Bush did make a number of diverse appointments, especially Hispanics, but the overall number of minority judges in the federal courts did not increase during his tenure.

"Bush cared about diversity, but it was not his first priority," Diascro said. "We suspect that he had many Hispanic conservatives from whom to choose when filling vacancies on the bench, yet he chose to appoint traditional candidates instead," she added. ccording to the analysis, when compared with all presidents since Jimmy Carter, Bush maintained the status quo in appointing nontraditional judges to the bench.

He appointed more men (78 percent overall) than women (22 percent) and more Caucasians (82 percent) than minorities (18 percent).

When comparing total appointments, the study found that Bush appointed more white females (50) than Carter (32), Ronald Reagan (27) or George H.W. Bush (31), but fewer than Bill Clinton (83).

He appointed more Hispanic females (12) than Clinton (5), but fewer African American females (8 compared to 15) than Clinton.

Like Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush often appointed minorities to seats for political gain or for ideological purposes, Spill Solberg explained.

"There is a tendency, and we see this across the political spectrum, to use bench appointments to gain clout with certain voters," said Diascro.

"The Bush administration was actively courting the Hispanic vote, so it isn't surprising that he made more appointments of Hispanic judges than African Americans, but it was often also based on judicial philosophy," she added.

According to Diascro, "Not so for African Americans. By the time Bush left office, the proportion of seats on the court of appeals held by African Americans had increased by only half a percent."

"Replacement patterns are key to understanding efforts to increase diversity on the bench," she said.

"Presidents may appoint a number of nontraditional judges, as President Bush did, but if their appointments maintain the status quo and don't add nontraditional judges, then their impact is less than it could be," she added. (ANI)

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