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Johnson Discusses Judicial Picks on NPR


Having just published an article titled “Gender, Diversity, and the United States Judiciary” in The SAIS Review of International Affairs, Associate Professor of Government Gbemende Johnson was the appropriate choice for an interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition news program titled “President Biden is replacing federal judges at a record-breaking pace.

In the Jan. 22 segment, Johnson addressed the rapid pace at which Biden had appointed 42 federal judges and their diverse backgrounds, not only in gender and race but experience. “…  a good proportion of them have backgrounds as public defenders … And that's typically been less common. Some of them have experience working with organizations like the Innocence Project, civil rights lawyers, ACLU, NAACP Legal Defense Fund - so definitely a broad diversity of experiences but experiences that are going to perhaps reflect the policy priorities and legal priorities of the administration,” Johnson said.

Politico asked “three experts who follow the courts closely what else they have noticed about Biden’s judicial selections … they all pointed to the same thing: career diversity.” In a Jan. 28 article titled “The Resume Line Biden Loves in Judges,” Johnson – one of those experts – said, “Professional experience, as well as race, gender, and personal history, has been shown to influence how a person interprets the law. It shouldn’t be seen as, ‘OK, someone has this background, so they’re going to rule this way’ in these cases.”

 “But it’s the broader idea that this set of experiences will affect their jurisprudence and the way in which they interpret certain legal issues that appear before them.”

The website FiveThirtyEight also tapped Johnson for her expertise in an article titled “How Biden Is Reshaping The Courts” published in December. Johnson said  Biden’s supporters are watching to make sure he holds to his promise to diversify the courts. And, in a Christian Science Monitor article that appeared on Jan. 19 titled “Biden's judicial picks diversify bench,” Johnson addressed how Biden’s picks would be “shaping the laws for decades.”

 

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