INSTITUTE INDEX: Re-diversifying the South's appellate courts

On June 14, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, which is often referred to as "the second highest court" in the United States. President Joe Biden, who has pledged to diversify the federal bench, is rumored to be considering Jackson for a future appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Official photo via Wikimedia Commons.)

In this century, total number of Black judges confirmed to the 5th and 11th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, which hear cases from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas: 1

Out of 29 active judges on those two courts, percent who are Black: just over 10

Percent of the population of the 5th and 11th Circuits that is Black: 20

Number of currently vacant seats on the 5th and 11th Circuits that could be filled by President Joe Biden, who has pledged to consider racial and other kinds of diversity when appointing judges: 2

Of Biden's judicial appointments so far, percent that are people of color: 83

Total number of Black appellate judges appointed by former President Donald Trump, who set a record for judicial appointments by a one-term president: 0

In Alabama, where Black people make up almost 27% of the population, year in which the state Supreme Court last included a Black justice: 2000

Number of days since the Supreme Court of Florida, where almost 17% of the population is Black, lost its only Black justice: 890

Date on which the court blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) from appointing a Black woman justice because she hadn't belonged to the Florida Bar for a full decade, as the state constitution requires: 9/11/2020

In Texas, where Hispanic and Latinx people make up over 38% of the state's population, number of Latinx justices who will be serving on the state Supreme Court after the upcoming departure of Justice Eva Guzman, who is running for attorney general: 0

Including Guzman, total number of Latinx high court justices appointed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R): 3

Of those appointees, the number that lost reelection in a GOP primary: 2

In Louisiana, where one-third of the population is Black, number of the state Supreme Court's seven justices who are Black: 1

Year in which Louisiana's Republican-controlled legislature considered a constitutional amendment to add two seats to the state Supreme Court: 2021

Date on which Louisiana House Republicans removed a provision of the amendment that would have required legislators to consider racial diversity when drawing the districts, leading to the amendment's defeat: 5/24/2021

Date on which Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed into law a bill passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature that expands the number of seats on the Virginia Court of Appeals from 11 to 17: 3/31/2021

Of the 10 justices who were serving on the court when the bill was passed, number that were white: 9

(Click on figure to go to source.)