Missing in Action: The Absence of Potential African American Female Supreme Court Justice Nominees - Why This Is and What Can Be Done About It
April Gordon Dawson
affiliation not provided to SSRN
August 16, 2010
With President Obama’s second nomination of a justice to the United States Supreme Court in less than a year, it is again disappointing to many that no African American women were seriously considered to fill the seat being vacated by a retiring justice. The absence of African American women on the short list of potential Supreme Court justice nominees highlights the lack of African American female lawyers in the higher echelons of government, private practice and academia - the pool from which Supreme Court justice nominees are selected.
Our paper will explore the reasons for this dearth of African American women with the necessary “pedigree” to be seriously considered to serve as a justice on the highest court in the land. In addition to discussing racism and sexism as causes of the lack of diversity in the pool of potential nominees, our paper will explore the economic realities and work-life balance issues that have also contributed to the limited number of African American female lawyers positioned to be viable Supreme Court justice nominees.
Our paper will also explore ways in which we can increase the pool, including advising African American female law students regarding scholarship and career choices that will better position them to be competitive potential Supreme Court justice nominees, and advocating for changes in the selection and confirmation processes to allow for greater inclusion of African American women in top level government and judicial positions.
Date posted: August 16, 2010