Politics & Policy

Liberal Journalist: Make Judges Prove They Have Minority Friends

Keli Goff suggests that judges’ social circles be vetted “before putting them on the bench.”

A prominent liberal journalist has suggested that potential judges should have to “prove” they have close friends who are minorities before they are placed “on the bench.”

Keli Goff’s column on the subject, titled “Before Putting Judges on the Bench, Make Them Prove They Have a Diverse Set of Friends,” appeared in the Root.

Goff said that a vetting potential judges’ friend groups would be a better way to determine eligibility than vetting past writings.

“So instead of trying to decode what someone meant when she made a comment about a particular civil rights case, perhaps we should ask more pointed questions, like, ‘How many people of color do you know and know well; how do you know them; and, perhaps most important, are your opinions of them generally positive or negative?’” Goff wrote.

She referred to a study that found that judges with daughters were more likely to rule in a “feminist direction” to support the idea.

“So now that we know that male judges’ rulings are affected by the women in their lives, isn’t it time we started asking judges about the racial makeup of the people in their lives, too?” she asked in the article.

Goff said she was “not arguing that every person who has not had much interaction with minorities” be “automatically be prohibited from serving,” but that those who did not might not be able to “execute that job fairly.”

“For many judges, that clearly means being educated on bias before they accept a job in the judiciary so that hopefully they can perform that job as fairly as possible once they get there,” she said.

Goff writes for the Daily Beast and the Root, and has appeared on television networks including MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.

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