Calling attention to a new report from the Alliance for Justice (AFJ), the Brennan Center for Justice co-sponsored a Washington, DC-based event, “Broadening the Bench: Judicial Nominations and Professional Diversity.” The report encourages “experiential diversity” in the judiciary—that is, appointing judges who have advocated for clients from diverse backgrounds.

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, delivered the keynote. Nan Aron, president of AFJ, introduced her, describing her as a “courageous champion of everyday Americans.” A former law professor at Harvard Law School, Warren has been a member of the US Senate since 2012, and before that, she was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was signed into law in 2010.

A conversation followed between Aron and Judge Nancy Gertner, who, now retired, chairs the advisory committee on Massachusetts judicial nominations. Judge Gertner discussed challenges from her career, such as being a judge with a professional history in advocacy, and took questions from the audience.

“All of us are profoundly shaped by our personal experiences. Our view of the world is filtered through what we see and hear in our day-to-day lives,” Aron said in the accompanying press release. “Achieving justice and public faith in our justice system requires that the federal bench include judges who bring to their jobs a wide variety of experiences in both their personal and their professional lives.”

Watch the video of the panel, provided by AFJ, which co-sponsored this event (1 hr):

Posted on February 7, 2014