Sept. 3, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Diversity Comes to Judiciary

According to the White House, Obama has nominated three openly gay judges: Oetken, former White House associate counsel Alison Nathan to serve as a judge in the Southern District of New York and Edward DuMont, a partner at WilmerHale, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Obama has nominated half of the Asian-Americans on the federal bench, the White House said. They include the first Vietnamese-American to serve as federal judge, Jacqeuline Nyen, who serves in the Central District of California; the first Chinese-American woman to serve as federal judge, Dolly Gee, also of the Central District of California; and the first Korean-American woman to serve as federal judge, Lucy Koh, of the Northern District of California.

Obama has also nominated Arvo Mikkanen to be a judge in the Northern District of Oklahoma. If confirmed, Mikkanen would be the only Native American on the federal bench.

"There are actually no Native Americans on the federal bench at all right now, so that remains an area where there has not been any success as of yet," Fredrickson said.

She added that Obama's judicial nominations are more diverse than his predecessors.

"President Clinton also nominated more women than other presidents, but certainly with respect to African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans, President Obama has had a significant percentage of his nominees having been members of those groups," Fredrickson said.

Democrats argue that diversity on the federal bench is important because people bring their particular perspectives to the job.

Alt said he doesn't wish to impugn any president's motives for nominating minorities, but he added, "We would advocate for a race-neutral decision-making process, as much as would be possible."

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