March 1, 2019
In all of U.S. history, there have been one-hundred and thirteen justices appointed to the Supreme Court. Of these one-hundred and thirteen justices, only six have been of a different race or gender than a white male. The Supreme Court was established in 1760, two-hundred and fifty eight years ago; however, in these two-hundred and fifty eight years, we have barely made a difference in the expansion of diverse perspectives on the court. Two centuries have passed, and 95% of our Supreme Court judges have not been subject to any kind of injustice or prejudice because of their race or gender. In all of our history, why have we not been able to change this fact? How can we make sure that we are receiving fair and unbiased decisions? How can we expect to expand and accept the attempts at diversity in our own communities if we have cannot even do it at the highest level of our justice systems?
Of these six diverse members of the Supreme Court, four have been women: Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Only three of these six are from an ethnic minority. Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas have been the only two African-American justices on the court. Clarence Thomas was nominated to take Marshall’s spot in 1991, so there has never been more than one African American on the court at any given time. Sonia Sotomayor is the first and only Hispanic. The first non-white male appointed to the court was Thurgood Marshall in 1967, and the most recent was Elena Kagan in 2010. Many of these justices have argued important cases that have changed the course of American history. For example, Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for women’s rights to equal pay for equal work in her Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. case, and Thurgood Marshall promoted the desegregation of schools in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. These monumental cases may not have even been considered had it not been for the diverse views of these two justices. Who knows what cases could be disclosed if we had a more diverse set of people on the court; however, without a justice system that includes various perspectives, we may never discover the voices of millions that need to be heard. The figures shown in the Supreme Court are disappointing to say the least, but we have the power to transform our justice systems.
The simple fact is: the diversity in our legal systems maintains the minority percentage. This is true for many high ranking jobs in American society. Only about 6% of women hold CEO positions in their work place, and this percentage is even lower for people of color. This needs to be changed, and our generation is the one to do it. Support women and minority leaders, or become one yourself! This is one of the main reasons why voting is so important. If you’re 18 or older, exercise your right to vote, and let your voice be heard! Every vote counts and can make a difference. Let’s take charge and guide the change in our current one-sided society. You may not agree with me and may not think our justice system is in need of fixing, but the numbers speak for themselves. The Supreme Court’s decisions affect America as a whole. How can a majority white male justice system accurately represent what the United States has become today; how can we always rely on them to judge fairly on what’s best for each individual? There is no one, average profile of a person living in the United States of America. Our justice system should represent this fact; there should not be a one majority race and gender deciding the fate of all people.