From the 2009 News Archive
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Prof. Ifill's Calls for High Court Diversity in CNN Interview

Professor Sherrilyn Ifill, a nationally recognized expert in the importance of judicial diversity and impartiality in judicial decision-making, made two national broadcast appearances last week to discuss the need for President Obama to appoint a successor to Justice David Souter that will increase the Supreme Courtís racial, gender, and professional diversity.

See Professor Ifill discuss possible Supreme Court nominees on CNN.

Hear Professor Ifill on The Tavis Smiley Show.

In addition, Professor Ifill has recently published two articles about potential nominees and the Courtís composition. In her commentary for CNN, "Break the mold for Supreme Court picks," Prof. Ifill notes that "It's been nearly two decades since anyone who has not served as a federal appellate judge -- for at least a little while -- has been confirmed to sit on the court. What this means is that justices on the court have come to be representative of a very narrow slice of the profession."

Prof. Ifill argues that the Supreme Court should include people with broader backgrounds, including state court judges, full-time law professors, former criminal defense attorneys, even civil practice trial lawyers.

In a May 4 op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, "After Souter," Professor Ifill recognizes the key role Justice David Souter has played in his 18 years on the Supreme Court, but argues that the nation's highest court now needs more diversity. She argues for the courtís need for more African Americans, women, and judges with state court experience. "With all of the speculation swirling in the air, most of it focused on what would be politically advantageous for the president, we would all do well to stay focused on nominees who would be substantively advantageous for the court and the country," wrote Professor Ifill. "And we should give a respectful and grateful farewell to Justice David Souter."

Professor Ifill is nationally recognized as an advocate in the areas of civil rights, voting rights, judicial diversity and judicial decision-making. Professor Ifill also writes about the history of racial violence and contemporary reconciliation efforts. Her book about truth and reconciliation commissions for lynching On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century was released by Beacon Books in 2007.


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved