Most of Biden’s Appointed Judges to Date Are Women, Racial or Ethnic Minorities – a First for Any President
Nearly two-thirds of the federal judges President Joe Biden has appointed so far are women, and the same share are members of racial or ethnic minority groups, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of statistics from the Federal Judicial Center.
Biden still has more than a year left in his term, so these patterns could change. But no president has ever appointed a slate of judges consisting mostly of women or racial and ethnic minorities.
To put Biden’s judicial appointments into historical context, we examined how his appointed judges to date compare with those of other presidents at the same point in their tenures, going back to Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s. This analysis begins with Eisenhower because he was the first president to be sworn in to a first term on the modern inauguration date of Jan. 20.
As of Nov. 5 – exactly a year before the 2024 presidential election – Biden had appointed 145 judges to the three main tiers of the federal judicial system: the district courts, the appeals courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. Women accounted for just over 66% of those judges (95 of 145).
The 95 women judges Biden had appointed as of Nov. 5 far exceed both the number and share any other president had appointed at the same point in their term. For example, then-President Donald Trump had appointed 36 women judges by the same point four years ago (24% of his total at the time), while then-President Barack Obama had appointed 54 women judges (47% of his total at the time).
The pattern is similar when it comes to judges who are racial or ethnic minorities. Nearly two-thirds of the judges Biden had appointed as of Nov. 5 (96 of 145, or just over 66%) are Black, Hispanic, Asian American or members of another racial or ethnic minority group. That is far more than any other president had appointed at the same point in their tenure. Trump, for instance, had appointed 22 minority judges by the same stage (14% of his total at the time), while Obama had appointed 42 (37% of his total at the time).
Combining gender with race and ethnicity, women who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or part of another racial or ethnic minority group account for 42% of the judges Biden had appointed as of Nov. 5 (61 of 145). They include Biden’s sole appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.