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The Recorder: Why Black Judges Are Vanishing From the Bay Area Federal Bench?

President Barack Obama has a strong record when it comes to diversifying the bench. But in the Northern District, one minority group hasn’t benefitted — his own.

The number of black federal judges in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose has dwindled as those who broke barriers a generation ago have departed or taken senior status. So far, not one African-American has been named to succeed them…..

……The situation is spurring reflection and a call to action from African-American lawyers and judges, minority bar groups and others who advocate for diversity on the bench…….

……Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte of Alameda County Superior Court, a fierce advocate for more women and minorities in the judiciary, has tracked demographics on the state bench for more than a decade. She says the stakes are particularly high in federal court because of its broad jurisdiction to hear discrimination and civil rights cases.

“Everybody ought to be up in arms,” she said. “We’re at a crisis point now, and I am very, very concerned that pretty soon we will be the invisible judges.”…..

…Among the African-American lawyers and judges who have applied for consideration by Feinstein and Boxer’s vetting committees are Keker & Van Nest partner Jon Streeter; San Francisco Superior Court Judge Monica Wiley; and Covington & Burling partner Haywood Gilliam, a former prosecutor. Preston DuFauchard, a former Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison partner who spent eight years as assistant general counsel at Bank of America, is another name in the mix……

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About Leslie Brodie

Leslie Brodie is a reporter, writer, blogger, activist, and a religious leader in the community.


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