State Judicial Diversity

This article investigates the nature and extent to which state courts are racially and ethnically diverse. Judicial diversity is examined for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. The findings indicate that only modest increases in judicial diversity have occurred in the states’ major appellate and trial courts since 2008. Minority judges are more likely to obtain seats on state courts through gubernatorial appointment, especially in states that formally use elections to select judges. This research underscores the complexity of state judicial selection and the role governors play in increasing racial and ethnic judicial diversity.

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About the Author
Barbara L. Graham is associate professor of political science and director of graduate studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her research interests include the politics  of representation in state and federal courts and judicial policymaking. She has published articles in American Politics Quarterly, Judicature and the Michigan Journal of Race & Law.

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