Obama Pushing to Diversify Federal Judiciary amid GOP Delays

Obama nominated Mary H. Murguia for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Murguia’s parents emigrated from Mexico to Kansas, where she was born.

Others include the first Haitian American, Afro-Caribbean, Vietnamese American and Korean American judges nominated to their respective positions.

One senior Republican Senate aide, who requested anonymity in order to discuss the nomination process, said, “We are going to continue to insist on a level of quality” among nominees.

We’re not advocating or opposing his diversity goals,” the aide said. “But that should not override the substantive qualifications of the nominees, which are professional competence, judicial temperament, respect for the law, understanding the Constitution.”

Liberal groups have been pressuring the White House to look for diversity not just in race, gender or sexual orientation, but also in professional experience. They want fewer corporate lawyers from white-shoe firms and more public defenders and lawyers from outside what is sometimes called the “judicial monastery.”

“That’s a completely different view than somebody who has only represented General Motors,” Zirkin said.

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