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Federal Judicial Appointments: The Need for Balance on the Bench

WHEREAS:

            The federal courts are a vital part of our system of checks and balances. Working families count on the courts to defend their constitutional and statutory rights; and

WHEREAS:

            These rights include the right to form unions free from employer intimidation; to be free from discrimination because of race, gender, national origin, age or disability in employment, education, health care, voting, housing, lending practices, criminal justice and other critical aspects of life in our society; to have a safe workplace; and to be paid for all hours worked; and

WHEREAS:

            The federal judiciary not only has failed to enforce these rights, but decisions have been issued interpreting these laws and the First Amendment in ways that were never intended, rolling back these hard earned protections; and

WHEREAS:

            While the U.S. Supreme Court typically hears fewer than 100 cases each year, the federal circuit courts of appeals hear about 60,000 cases. District courts hear many thousands more; and

WHEREAS:

            President Obama’s appointments to the federal bench have been more diverse by race, national origin and gender than any other president: about 42 percent of his nominees have been women and about 38 percent have been African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American and Pacific Islander; and

WHEREAS:

            President Obama’s appointments have not, however, resulted in a federal bench diversified by professional background. A very small number of union, civil rights, consumer, legal aid and other public interest lawyers who understand the issues with which working families are confronted, have been appointed to the federal bench.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME calls on President Obama to create a federal judiciary that reflects the face of America by continuing to appoint judges who are diverse in race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin and age; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME calls on the president to increase his efforts to diversify the professional background of the federal judiciary to include lawyers, such as those who represent

unions and workers, public defenders, legal aid, consumer rights and other public interest advocates; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME calls on the president to appoint a greater number of judges who have an appreciation for worker issues and their statutory rights and who have at some point in their legal careers worked with individuals in need, not just the privileged or business interests.

 

SUBMITTED BY:
Salvatore Luciano, Executive Director and Delegate
AFSCME Council 4
Connecticut

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