President Barack Obama has moved strategically to transform the nation’s courts with a more diverse cast of judicial appointments, he said on Thursday.
“But at no point did I say: ‘Oh, you know what? I need a black lesbian from Skokie in that slot. Can you find me one?’ he joked. “I mean, that’s just not how I’ve approached it.”
Taking questions from students at the University of Chicago Law School during a town hall discussion about the Supreme Court and U.S. judicial system, Obama said he doesn’t look at diversity on courts as filling a particular slot with a demographic. Rather, he broadens the pool of potential nominees and gives every candidate a fair look.
“I have transformed the federal courts from a diversity standpoint with a record that’s been unmatched,” Obama said, before ticking through a list of diverse judges he’s appointed throughout his presidency on every level.
For the Supreme Court, Obama has nominated two women — Elena Kagan, who is Jewish, and Sonia Sotomayor, who is Latino. Last month, he nominated Merrick Garland to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy.
“Yeah, he’s a white guy, but he’s a really outstanding jurist,” Obama said. “I’m sorry. I mean, you know, I think that’s important.”
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