Three Women on the Supreme Court

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NEW YORK -- An editorial in El Diario/La Prensa applauds the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Elena Kagan—a New Yorker—as the 112th Supreme Court justice. Her confirmation represents a historic shift for our nation, editors write. 

Critics attacked Kagan because she did not have experience as a judge. But Kagan is no exception. In the history of the Supreme Court, 40 of its justices did not have prior judicial experience, among them John Jay and Louis Brandeis. If that was acceptable for men, why not then for a woman who is supremely qualified to serve?

Kagan will join Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Court. This makes three of the nine justices women. Their visibility in a traditionally male institution should signal progress to Americans. 

But there’s more work to be done. Forty-eight of the 161 active judges sitting on the 13 federal courts of appeal are female, according to a recent report by the National Women’s Law Center. That’s only 30 percent. Hispanic, Black, and Asian women are only a slice of this representation. There are only eight women of color on the U.S. courts of appeals.

President Obama has nominated a significant number of women to the judiciary— of his 78 nominees, 35 are women. But editors write that more emphasis in nominees from the Obama administration should be placed where there is severe under-representation, that is, with women of color.