11-17-2019  6:57 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act Introduced

In honor of Veterans Day, Monday, Merkley, Brown, Reed, Van Hollen introduced legislation to extend financial protections for servicemembers to veterans and consumers

Home Base Keeps More Than 400 Families in Their Homes in Seattle

The United Way of King County program aims to reduce homelessness by preventing evictions

Jefferson High Sees Gains in Freshman Preparedness, Graduation Rates

New support positions aim to increase attendance rates among students who often struggle with displacement, homelessness

Nike Cuts Ties With Amazon, but Shoes Won’t Vanish From Site

Nike wants to focus on selling its swoosh-branded gear on its own site and apps

NEWS BRIEFS

Noose Found at Oregon Health & Science University

Surveillance cameras did not capture the area; investigator are reviewing who had access ...

DEQ Extends Air Quality Advisory Due to Stagnation

DEQ expects the air quality advisory to last until at least Tuesday, Nov. 12 ...

Forest Service Waives Fees in Honor of Veterans Day

The USDA Forest Service will waive fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington on Monday, Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans...

Two Local Nonprofits Announced as Grant Recipients for Portland-Area Programs

Financial Beginnings Oregon and Portland Parks Foundation will receive a total of 0,000 plus leadership resources through Bank of...

State Seeks Volunteers to Rank Investments in Washington’s Outdoors

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is recruiting 50 volunteers to evaluate grant proposals for parks, boating...

Texas Southern’s jerseys stolen before game at Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Police say uniforms were stolen from Texas Southern’s women’s basketball team before their game at Oregon.Eugene Police say a black duffel bag containing all the jerseys was taken from a downtown hotel conference room Saturday.The Tigers wore practice...

Man arrested for arson after 4 Oregon fires

TIGARD, Ore. (AP) — Police in Oregon have arrested a man suspected of starting four fires in one day.Tigard Police says 26-year-old Joseph Tyler Martinez was arrested for arson. He’s suspected of setting four fires Thursday.Police say the first fire caused serious damage to the...

Trask, stingy defense lead Florida over Missouri, 23-6

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Nothing about Kyle Trask’s path to becoming Florida’s starting quarterback was easy. Something as trivial as a sluggish first half doesn’t rattle him.Trask threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter to help No. 11 Florida shake free of Missouri...

No. 11 Gators head to Mizzou hoping for another turnaround

It was only a year ago that Dan Mullen was asked about the state of his Florida program after he watched his team get humiliated by Missouri in the Swamp.His response already has become the stuff of legend.“They keep score. Someone wins and someone loses,” Mullen said, passion rising...

OPINION

Illinois Prison Bans Black History Books

Officials claim the works are ‘racial’ ...

5 Ways Life Would be Better if it Were Always Daylight Saving Time

A Professor from the University of Washington says DST saves lives and energy and prevents crime ...

Importance of Educators of Color for Black and Brown Students

A new report examines the ways that school leaders of color’s experiences and perspectives influence how they build school culture ...

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black Eyed Peas star accuses Qantas attendant of racism

SYDNEY (AP) — Black Eyed Peas musician will.i.am has accused a flight attendant from Australia’s national carrier Qantas of being racist and rude to him on a flight.The musician says he was met by police at Sydney Airport on Saturday after an incident with an “overly aggressive...

Former Sri Lankan defense chief wins presidential vote

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former defense official revered by Sri Lanka’s ethnic majority for his role in ending a bloody civil war but feared by minorities for his brutal approach, registered a comfortable victory Sunday in the nation’s presidential...

Sanders stars with Biden, Warren absent at California forum

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bernie Sanders was greeted with booming cheers at a gathering of California Democrats Saturday, underscoring his popularity with the party’s liberal base as he looks to capture the biggest prize in the presidential primary season next year.The decisions by...

ENTERTAINMENT

Media filters set current impeachment hearings apart

NEW YORK (AP) — Millions of Americans are choosing to experience the impeachment hearings through media filters that depict the proceedings as either a worthless sham or like Christmas in November.That’s the chief difference between now and the two other times in the modern era when a...

Creator of Lizzo’s signature slogan could get a Grammy nod

NEW YORK (AP) — Mina Lioness’ longstanding battle to finally receive writing credit on Lizzo’s megahit song “Truth Hurts” is paying off in more ways than one: it could win her a potential Grammy Award.Lizzo's breakthrough tune features the signature line —...

Ex-ambassador’s testimony shines light on conservative media

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s impeachment testimony on Friday spotlighted the role of conservative media in her downfall and the chilling reminder that she remains a social media target.The ousted ambassador recalled a series of articles by reporter...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Sorry, wrong number: Statistical benchmark comes under fire

NEW YORK (AP) — Earlier this fall Dr. Scott Solomon presented the results of a huge heart drug study to an...

AP Interview: Steyer’s fortune fuels underdog 2020 campaign

BLUFFTON, S.C. (AP) — Tom Steyer says it’s “not possible” to buy the Democratic...

White House urgently ramps up push for drug cost legislation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is ramping up its push to get a bill through Congress that curbs...

US, S Korea postpone joint exercise criticized by N Korea

BANGKOK (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday the United States and South Korea have...

Former Sri Lankan defense chief wins presidential vote

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former defense official revered by Sri Lanka’s...

Pope’s Asian agenda: Disarmament, martyrs, family reunion

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has agendas both pastoral and personal for his trip to Asia, where...

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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