Snap Fact #166

President Obama Threw Courtroom Doors Wide Open For Qualified Women!
On the basketball court the reference to a player "on the bench" denotes a B-team substitute that isn't going to get much of a chance to play. In the courts of American Jurisprudence, when you are "on the bench" you are on the A-team. President Obama has literally thrown open the nation's courtroom doors for women to have an equal shot at making the A-Team from the Supreme Court and throughout the Federal Court system. He has removed the glass backboard and turned a dribble of female appointments into a hard driving offense.

Some high profile cases before the Supreme Court get a lot of media attention. Likewise the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices are also well covered by the press. It is a well know fact that President Obama selected two highly qualified women, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, to sit on the Supreme Court. Already sitting Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg made a total of three women on the Supreme Court at the same time. Less noticed, practically hidden from public view, has been President Obama's unprecedented success in bringing women to federal courts throughout the country. Almost half of President Obama’s confirmed judicial nominees have been women. As if it were needed, here is another example of the President’s commitment to women. It's genuine and it's consistent.

President Obama has made no secret of his goal to make the American courts reflect the true nature of America. Along with the effort to bring more women to the bench, roughly 36 percent of his nominees have been people of color, and he has nominated more openly lesbian and gay individuals to the federal courts than all his predecessors combined.
But the president’s efforts to bring a diversity of voices to the federal courts has consistently faced a major roadblock. Senate Republicans have been obstructing judicial nominee appointments to an unprecedented extent. Typically, the objections to these nominees have nothing to do with their qualifications, but they are just for the sake for creating gridlock and trying to embarrass the President.

Indeed, most of President Obama’s nominees have been approved by the Judiciary Committee with unanimous or near unanimous bipartisan support. Nevertheless, after committee approval, Republicans in the Senate have forced the President’s nominees to wait four times longer to get an up or down vote than President Bush’s nominees at the same point in his term. As a result, about one out of ten courtrooms in the country are vacant and Americans are facing inexcusable delays as they seek their day in court. One of President Obama’s least noticed but most long lasting achievements has been putting a qualified group of judges on our federal courts has been stymied by the Congressional Republicans.

The Federal Court System of the United States is one other battleground where the President is fighting for the advancement of women. Anyone who doesn't think that the Republicans are waging a war against women needs only to be aware of the hand to hand combat that is going on between the Republican blocking brigade in the Senate and the man in the White House.