11-29-2022  1:12 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Lawmakers Lift Security Measure Imposed on Senator

Since July 2019, Sen. Brian Boquist had been required to give 12 hours notice before coming to the Oregon State Capitol, to give the state police time to bolster their security and to ensure the safety of people in the Capitol.

James Posey Elected Next President of NAACP Portland Chapter

Co-founder of the National Association of Minority Contractors of Oregon will take office at the beginning of next year. 

The Science of Lullabies: Portland Music Educator Gathers Songs of Soothing from Around the World

Licia Claire Seaman’s new book shares stories, neurobiology and music. 

The KKK in Oregon: Same Wine, Different Bottle

Oregon and the Klan: Guest Column: The tactics and rhetoric deployed by today’s Trump-centric conservative movement read like the playbook of the Ku Klux Klan a century ago.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Faces Snow-Plow Driver Shortage Heading Into Winter

New federal licensing rules for drivers resulted in longer wait times to obtain a commercial driver's license, which contributed to...

Air Pollution Monitoring to Increase for Oregon Communities

Two of Oregon’s most economically disadvantaged and racially diverse communities are getting a boost in their fight against air...

Georgia High Court Reinstates Ban on Abortions After 6 Weeks

The high court put a lower court ruling overturning the ban on hold while it considers an appeal. Abortion providers who had resumed...

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Pose Ongoing Concern to Health of Youth in Los Angeles County, Report from Public Health Shows

Excess consumption of added sugars contributes to the high prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity, and increases the risk for...

Patriot Front member pleads guilty to disturbing the peace

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — One of the 31 members of a white supremacist group arrested near an Idaho Pride event earlier this year has pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. Alexander N. Sisenstein, 27, of Midvale, Utah, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge on Monday, the...

Man gets 10 years in shooting that sparked racial protests

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a white man to 10 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Barry Washington Jr. outside a nightclub last year in Bend, Oregon. Ian Cranston, 28, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in state prison and three years of parole on five counts,...

Missouri holds off Arkansas 29-27 to reach bowl eligibility

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri and Arkansas will be headed to similar bowl games after the Tigers held off the Razorbacks 29-27 on Saturday night, leaving each of the bitter border rivals 6-6 on the season. Only one walked out of Faurot Field with victory cigars. Brady...

Rivalry week should bring SEC bowl forecast into clear focus

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — It’s rivalry week for most of the Southeastern Conference. The Egg Bowl. The Iron Bowl. The Palmetto Bowl. The Sunshine Showdown. Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. The Battle Line Rivalry. It’s a chance for everyone to either avoid or add to the powerhouse...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

S. Carolina's US House maps under scrutiny because of race

A trial to determine whether South Carolina’s congressional maps are legal closes Tuesday with arguments over whether the state Legislature diluted Black voting power by remaking the boundaries of the only U.S. House district Democrats have flipped in more than 30 years. The trial...

Man gets 10 years in shooting that sparked racial protests

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a white man to 10 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Barry Washington Jr. outside a nightclub last year in Bend, Oregon. Ian Cranston, 28, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in state prison and three years of parole on five counts,...

Lapchick focuses on racism impact in his social-justice work

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — The founder of the institute that examines diversity in sports is taking to Twitter to highlight weekly examples of racism in sports and elsewhere. Richard Lapchick is the founder of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), which was launched...

ENTERTAINMENT

Santa's back in town with inflation, inclusion on his mind

NEW YORK (AP) — Don't look for plastic partitions or faraway benches when visiting Santa Claus this year. The jolly old elf is back, pre-pandemic style, and he's got some pressing issues on his mind. Santa booker HireSanta.com has logged a 30% increase in demand this Christmas...

More than 150 agents back striking HarperCollins workers

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 150 literary agents, whose clients include Danielle Jackson, V.E. Schwab and L.A. Chandlar, have signed an open letter to HarperCollins vowing to “omit” the publisher from upcoming book submissions until it reaches an agreement with striking employees. ...

HBO to air Nancy Pelosi doc shot by daughter Alexandra

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A documentary on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s life and groundbreaking political career, shot and edited by her daughter, will debut on HBO next month. Alexandra Pelosi’s “Pelosi in the House” will premiere Dec. 13 and will include footage shot during the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Qatar says worker deaths for World Cup 'between 400 and 500'

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — A top Qatari official involved in the country's World Cup organization has put the number of...

Mayor says NYC will treat mentally ill, even if they refuse

NEW YORK (AP) — Bidding to address a mental health crisis on New York City streets and subways, Mayor Eric Adams...

Houston lifts boil-water order affecting more than 2 million

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston officials lifted an order Tuesday that had called for more than 2 million people in the...

Russian diplomat says prisoner swap with US remains possible

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and the United States have repeatedly been on the verge of agreement on a prisoner...

SAfrica: Convicted killer of anti-apartheid hero stabbed

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The convicted killer of South African anti-apartheid leader Chris Hani has been stabbed in...

Trial starts in Norway for Putin ally's son who flew drone

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The son of a Russian businessman close to President Vladimir Putin denied any...

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

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