Obama and a diverse United States Judiciary: Lessons for India

Having racial, gender and experiential diversity in the American judicial system were one of Obama’s top priorities when he was elected to the White House. Reports suggest that he may well have succeeded in portraying the true multi-ethnic rubric of the U.S.  through the federal judicial benches, at both the SCOTUS and the Courts of Appeals.

Of the 97 successful nominations made by the Obama administration, almost half were women, a quarter of them were, several openly-gay judges and Asian-Americans too.

In India, although the Supreme Court has had a history of wide regional, albeit linguistic and cultural representation, gender diversity has been hard to come by. Till date, only four women (three retired: Justice Fathima Beevi, Justice Sujata V. Manohar, Justice Ruma Pal; and one sitting: Justice Gyan Sudha Misra) have donned the role of a judge of the Supreme Court of India. In wake of the increased representation of women in local municipal governments and the pending legislation on reservation for women in the State and Central Legislatures, the judicial system has to catch up with the true multicultural, multi-ethnic and egalitarian dynamic that India exemplifies.

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