State Supreme Courts Bastions Of Unspoken Exclusion

  • 13 states have not seated a person of color as a state supreme court justice
  • 24 states currently lack a justice of color on their state supreme court bench
  • White men now make up less than a third of the U.S. population but more than half (56 percent) of state supreme court justices
  • Women make up roughly half the U.S. population but hold 36 percent of state supreme court seats
  • People of color make up nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population but hold 15 percent of state supreme court seats
  • Over the past twenty years, state supreme courts have become less reflective of the nation’s increasingly diverse population. In 1996, there were 63 percent fewer justices of color on state high court benches than would be predicted based on their representation in the general population. In 2017, that gap was 66 percent.
These highlighted states have NEVER had an American Black serve on their State Supreme Court
These highlighted states currently have no person of color serving on their State Supreme Court
State Supreme Court campaigns have become just as expensive as partisan political campaigns making it harder or impossible for people of color to serve on State Supreme Courts
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody Stewart’s election in 2018 makes her the first American Black elected to the Ohio State Supreme Court, hopefully she won’t be the last American Black to integrate the remaining 18 state supreme courts that have never had an American Black serve as a State Supreme Court Justice

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