Appellate Courts Are Overwhelmingly White and Male — That Needs to Change
/ August 15, 2023
This op-ed was originally written for Teen Vogue by Juvaria Khan, the founder of Pillars grantee partner The Appellate Project.
I have the privilege of working with future lawyers every day. After the United States Supreme Court gutted affirmative action, I knew they’d have something to say. “Only 5% of lawyers are Hispanic,” one of my Latina law students shared. This ruling “means that communities that need lawyers that look like them, think like them, and understand them will be scarce.”
She’s right — and as the leader of an organization changing the composition of our highest courts, I know that empowering students like her is more important now than ever.
This June, the Supreme Court released landmark rulings on affirmative action, criminal justice, and tribal rights. All of these cases disproportionately affect communities of color. Yet a group of mostly straight, white, and male attorneys and judges are arguing and deciding these cases — and most appellate cases — despite often having no lived experience with the issues before them.