People For the American Way

Georgia Senate Victories Are a “Game-Changer” for Diversity in Our Courts

Georgia Senate Victories Are a “Game-Changer” for Diversity in Our Courts
Photo: Matt H. Wade / Wikipedia

As a presidential candidate, President Joe Biden addressed the importance of fair-minded judges in our federal courts throughout his campaign. But when his electoral victory was announced in late November, the runoff races in Georgia meant that control of the Senate – the legislative body responsible for confirming judicial nominees – was still undetermined.

The twin victories in Georgia cemented a Democratic majority in the Senate – and with it, President Biden’s opportunity to reshape the courts.  In a Feb. 5 op-ed published in NewsOne, People For President Ben Jealous explains how the Georgia runoffs gave way to the promise of a new era for our courts, and what that means for advancing equal justice under the law.

Jealous wrote:

We have all seen the tragic consequences of the Trump judges that Senate Republicans rubber-stamped: law enforcement officials are not held accountable for using deadly force against Black Americans; laws that make it harder for people of color to vote are upheld; people are denied access to legally protected health care, including abortion care; people who work for a living are prevented from effectively getting higher wages and better working conditions; burdens on the lives of immigrants are upheld; businesses that discriminate against employees are protected rather than held accountable; and much more …

But while the litany of harms is discouraging, the opportunities now are for transformational change. Desegregate the bench in the Seventh Circuit, which includes such diverse cities as Chicago, Milwaukee and Gary. Name someone who has dedicated their life to advancing equality, combating racism, and empowering the oppressed to the D.C. Circuit, for Merrick Garland’s soon-to-be vacated seat. Confirm judges to the district courts who will be a bulwark against the worst anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Black, anti-worker impulses of state legislatures emboldened by the Trump era …

It will be a breath of fresh air to once again see the confirmation of qualified, fair-minded judges who come to the bench with a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights. This will be one of the most important consequences of the Georgia elections …

You can read the op-ed in full here.


abortion access, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Georgia Senate Runoff Elections, minimum wage, Mitch McConnell, police brutality, Protecting Immigrant Communities, Protecting Lower Courts, Protecting the Right to Vote, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Trump judges, voting rights, workers' rights