Alliance for Justice’s Building the Bench Initiative is partnering with The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy & Innovation and the South Asian Bar Association of North America to present the next segment of its signature virtual discussion series, May I Approach?: Courts and the Power of Inclusion. Join us at 7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT on August 12, 2020, for “Overcoming Stigma and Bias on the Path to Judicial Diversity,” a conversation about the difficult journey to the bench for people with disabilities and religious minorities, two highly stigmatized groups in American society.
No Muslim American has ever been confirmed by the Senate to sit as a judge on a federal court in the 230-year history of the federal judiciary. Muslim judges serving on state courts have become the subject of conspiracy theories warning that the United States in danger of falling to Sharia law. Likewise, people with disabilities face some of the strongest implicit and explicit bias of any marginalized community, including race, national origin, religion, and sexual orientation. These biases are embedded throughout the legal system to create significant barriers along the pathway to the bench, from equal access to a legal education to mentorships, clerkships, and access to the circles of power more likely to be considered qualified for a judgeship.
This second installment of "May I Approach?" will be moderated by Samuel Bagenstos, the Frank G. Millard Professor of Law at the University of Michigan School of Law. Confirmed panelists include: Justice Halim Dhanidina of the California Court of Appeals, the first Muslim American appellate court judge; Justice Helen Whitener of the Supreme Court of Washington, one of the nation's few judges with a declared disability; and Michael Waterstone, Dean of the Loyola Law School. Former House Majority Whip Anthony “Tony” Coelho will provide additional remarks.
Register now to get the information to join by Zoom or phone.
This event will be streamed with live captioning and ASL interpretation.
Learn more about our Building the Bench Initiative.