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The Skanner Black History Month
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Jeremy Christian Guilty of Killing 2 Who Tried to Stop His Slurs on Max

Today jurors found Christian guilty of the May 26, 2017 stabbing deaths of Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best

States Step Up Funding for Planned Parenthood Clinics

A spokesman for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon said the agency has been "working closely with state officials to create critical backstops and protect access to care for all Oregonians who need it, regardless of federal action on Title X"

Oregon Denies Permit for Pipeline Before Federal Decision

Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development says a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay would have significant adverse effects on the state's coastal scenic and aesthetic resources, endangered species and critical habitat

Rep. Blumenauer Joined by Sens. Markey, Sanders, and Warren to Introduce Bill to Hold Big Oil Companies Accountable

"Amidst the growing climate emergency, closing this loophole is a small step we must take to hold Big Oil accountable and to protect our communities," said Blumenauer. 

NEWS BRIEFS

African American Initiative Breast Cancer Survivor Celebration to be Held Saturday

Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington celebrate breast cancer survivors in the African American community with a free gala this...

Dr. Karin Edwards Named New President of Clark College

Board of Trustees names Dr. Karin Edwards as the college’s 15th leader in its 87-year history ...

OneUnited Bank Launches New Limited-Edition Harriet Tubman Card

OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in America, introduces the new limited-edition Harriet Tubman Card in celebration of...

Oregon House Votes to End Driver’s License Suspensions for Failure to Pay Fines

Bipartisan Vote Underscores Consensus for Reforms, Makes Way for Senate Action ...

Black History Month 2020: “African Americans and the Vote”

In our celebration of Black History Month 2020, the DPO Black Caucus looks forward to the screening of the award-winning documentary,...

Companies altered road test results given to Idaho agency

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Companies that are responsible for checking the quality of Idaho’s road materials have altered the results of their asphalt tests thousands of times, government documents show. Those changes may have allowed contractors that repair and build Idaho’s highway...

University lab cited for animal welfare violations in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon Health & Science University laboratory was cited for violating animal welfare laws after five prairie voles died of thirst, federal inspectors said.The U.S. Department of Agriculture also cited the university after a person risked contaminating surgical...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Moscow targets Chinese with raids amid virus fears

MOSCOW (AP) — Bus drivers in Moscow kept their WhatsApp group chat buzzing with questions this week about what to do if they spotted passengers who might be from China riding with them in the Russian capital.“Some Asian-looking (people) have just got on. Probably Chinese. Should I...

Lizzo, 'Just Mercy' win top honors at NAACP Image Awards

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Lizzo was named entertainer of the year and “Just Mercy” won best motion picture, best actor and best supporting actor Saturday at the NAACP Image Awards, as the show that recognizes entertainers of color ladled honors on the film that was snubbed by...

Sanders wins Nevada caucuses, takes national Democratic lead

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Bernie Sanders scored a commanding victory in Nevada’s presidential caucuses, cementing his status as the Democrats' national front-runner but escalating tensions over whether he’s too liberal to defeat President Donald Trump. As Sanders celebrated Saturday...

ENTERTAINMENT

'West Side Story' opening draws protesters on Broadway

NEW YORK (AP) — There was a chorus outside the Broadway Theatre on Thursday at the opening night of a new revival of “West Side Story” but what was being sung was a protest chant.A group of about 100 people demanded the removal of cast member Amar Ramasar, who was fired and...

Broadway's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' readies for Garden visit

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Kyle Scatliffe has gone to Madison Square Garden plenty of times — for a Rangers game, a Muse concert and a WWE event. Next week, he's going back again, but this time he won't be in the seats.Scatliffe on Wednesday will be starring in the hit Broadway play...

OWN's 'Cherish the Day' is a rare celebration of black love

LOS ANGELES (AP) — To separate filmmaker and TV producer Ava DuVernay’s trenchant, history-driven projects, including “Selma” and “When They See Us,” from her new romantic drama series is to sell short the determined thoughtfulness that shapes all her...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

After learning of Whitey Bulger LSD tests, juror has regrets

EASTHAM, Mass. (AP) — One of the jurors who convicted notorious crime boss James “Whitey”...

Self-styled daredevil dies in crash after rocket launch

BARSTOW, Calif. (AP) — A self-styled daredevil died Saturday after a rocket in which he launched himself...

2nd person in days killed by Mardi Gras float in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man was struck and killed by a Mardi Gras float during a raucous Saturday night street...

Iran raises death toll from new virus to 8, infections to 43

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's health ministry raised the death toll from the new coronavirus to eight Sunday,...

Berlin starts controversial rent freeze on 1.5 million homes

BERLIN (AP) — Berlin is freezing the rents of 1.5 million apartments for the next five years starting this...

Germany's Hamburg city in elections marked by climate issues

BERLIN (AP) — Voters in Hamburg, Germany's second-biggest city, go to the polls Sunday to pick a new...

McMenamins
Jesse J. Holland the Associated Press


President Obama with Justice Sonia Sotomayor,
the first Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is moving at a historic pace to try to diversify the nation's federal judiciary: Nearly three of every four people he has gotten confirmed to the federal bench are women or minorities. He is the first president who hasn't selected a majority of white males for lifetime judgeships.

More than 70 percent of Obama's confirmed judicial nominees during his first two years were "non-traditional," or nominees who were not white males. That far exceeds the percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton (48.1 percent) and George W. Bush (32.9 percent), according to Sheldon Goldman, author of the authoritative book "Picking Federal Judges."

"It is an absolutely remarkable diversity achievement," said Goldman, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who is only counting judges once, even if they fit more than one category.

The White House recently has been touting its efforts to diversify the federal bench during Obama's tenure, now approaching three years in office.

The president won Senate confirmation of the first Latina to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. And with the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan, he increased the number of women on the high court to three for the first time. The Obama administration also nominated and won confirmation of the first openly gay man to a federal judgeship: former Clinton administration official J. Paul Oetken, to an opening in New York City.

"All of us can be proud of President Obama for taking this critical step to break down another barrier and increase diversity in the federal judiciary," Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said upon Oetken's confirmation.

The first openly homosexual federal judge was Deborah A. Batts in New York City, a lesbian nominated by Clinton in 1994.

Of the 98 Obama nominees confirmed to date, the administration says 21 percent are African-American, 11 percent are Hispanic, 7 percent are Asian-American and almost half - 47 percent - are women. By comparison, of the 322 judges confirmed during George W. Bush's presidency, 18 percent were minorities and 22 percent were female. Of the 372 judges confirmed during Clinton's terms, 25 percent were minorities and 29 percent were women. In these figures, some judges fit into more than one category.

Last week, the Senate confirmed the first African-American woman to sit on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Bernice Donald. Earlier, she was the first African-American woman elected as a judge in Tennessee, the first appointed as federal bankruptcy judge in the nation and first confirmed as a U.S. district judge in Tennessee.

Obama also has doubled the number of Asian-Americans sitting on the federal bench, including adding Denny Chin to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York as the only active Asian federal appeals court judge. There currently are 14 Asian-American federal judges on the 810-judge roster.

"It's really amazing," said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who wrote about the increasing diversity on the federal bench during Obama's administration in an article in the Washington University Law Review. "Obama has nominated as many as were sitting on the bench when he was inaugurated."

For more than 140 years, there were no females or minorities among the nation's federal judges.

The first female federal appellate judge was Florence Allen, who gained her seat on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1934. The first female U.S. District Court judge was Burnita Shelton Matthews, who took the bench in Washington, D.C., in 1950. William Henry Hastie Jr. was the first African-American U.S. District Court judge, sitting in the Virgin Islands in 1937 before being elevated to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1949.

Reynaldo G. Garza became the first Hispanic federal judge when he was appointed to the U.S. District Court in Texas in 1961, and Herbert Choy became the first Asian-American federal judge when he was appointed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1971.

Thurgood Marshall became the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court in 1967, and Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman to be elevated to the nation's highest court in 1981.

"I think it's always good to have diverse perspectives, whether it's gender, sexuality or ideology," Tobias said.

Those who track diversity on the federal bench are pleased with Obama's progress so far but want more voices from all of America's communities in the federal courts. Obama has nominated three other openly gay judicial nominees, as well as what would be the only active Native American on the federal bench, if Arvo Mikkanen is confirmed to a federal judgeship in Oklahoma.

"The more diverse the courts, the more confidence people have in our judicial system," said Nan Aron of the liberal Alliance for Justice. "Having a diverse judiciary also enriches the decision-making process."

The makeup of the federal bench could be a major issue during the Senate, House and presidential elections in 2012.

Obama basically has until the end of this year to get as many of his judicial nominees confirmed as possible, because it is unlikely that a highly partisan Senate will confirm many judges with a presidential election looming in November 2012.

According to the Federal Judicial Center, there are 94 vacancies in the federal courts, with 55 nominees awaiting Senate action.

"Once we get into an election year ... things always slow down, both because people's attention is in other places and also because the party out of power thinks, `If I can just keep this vacancy open for another year, maybe my president will fill it,'" said Curt Levey, head of the conservative Committee for Justice, in an interview on "PBS NewsHour."

With cases on Obama's health care plan, the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and gay marriage expected to reach the Supreme Court in the future, judicial selection will be front and center for Obama and the eventual Republican nominee, Aron said.

"The court will be a central issue," Aron said. "It will be in people's minds when they go into the ballot box."

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White House Information on diversity in Obama's federal judgeship nominees: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infographics/judicial-nominees

Current judicial vacancies: http://www.uscourts.gov/JudgesAndJudgeships/JudicialVacancies/CurrentJudicialVacancies.aspx

Supreme Court nominees by president: http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/reference/nominations/Nominations.shtml

List of Asian-American federal judges and photos: http://aaba-bay.com/aaba/showpage.asp?codecurrent%20federal%20judges

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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