Judicial appointments matter
This is the time to draft the annual New Year’s resolutions. The proposals are often ambitious but less fastidiously implemented. However, with Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives, Blacks should remain alert to political changes that could be significant.
People seem to become attentive to politics only when a major election is due, but political activity is actually continuous. Recent judicial battles with former President Donald Trump indicate the importance of the selection of federal judges who can be relied upon to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
All federal judges are appointed for life by the president with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. The search begins in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where prospective candidates are reviewed by the staff of senators from both parties. With a judiciary committee that has essentially divided membership from both parties, candidates to be judges must be acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans.
President Joe Biden has been especially effective in confirming new judges. Public attention is focused on Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in his short term in office, President Biden has made 97 judicial appointments. In two years as president, Biden confirmed 28 appeals court judges and 68 district court judges as well as one Supreme Court justice. Racial diversity was significant, with 11 of the appeals court judges being Black women.
Appointments below the Supreme Court tend not to attract much attention until significant cases are filed in their jurisdictions. Then Blacks wonder whether their civil rights are being well protected. It is never too early to let party leaders know that voters are concerned about the nomination of judges as well as the appointment of government officials with authority.