A Federal Judge Who Hires Only Male Clerks?
D.C. Circuit Judge Karen L. Henderson says only one women qualified to serve as one of three or four law clerks that she has hired annually since 1990
Ed. Note: Irony? DC Chief Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan plans to investigate the leak of a survey showing Circuit Judge Karen L. Henderson hired only one female law clerk out of 70 in 32 years. Why didn’t someone investigate THAT?
Whose fault is it that D.C. Circuit Judge Karen L. Henderson has hired only one woman to serve as one of three or four law clerks that she has hired annually since 1990?
According to an expose in The Washington Post, Henderson has hired 70 clerks dating back to 1990, when she was nominated to the appeals court, and all but one were men.
Judge Henderson is responsible for her own actions but isn’t she accountable to anyone else who works in the federal judiciary’s $8 billion-a-year operation?
The U.S. Constitution invests federal judges with lifetime tenure in good behavior. It is obvious that a federal judge who has effectively refused to obey Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for decades is not operating in good behavior.
Imagine being a female worker who filed an appeal of a lower court judge’s summary dismissal of a lawsuit that alleges sex discrimination in hiring. Typically, three appellate judges are assigned to decide such an appeal. What if your panel included a judge who refused to hire female law clerks for 32 years?
It is almost inconceivable that a judge would be permitted to refuse to hire black law clerks for 32 years. Women have outnumbered men as law school graduates for years while blacks make up less than 10% of law school graduates.
It’s hard to blame the current Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit, Sri Srinivasan, because he was only appointed to his leadership position in 2020.
He took over from a woman, Circuit Judge Sharon Prost, who held the title of chief judge from 2014 to 2021.
One would hope that Judge Srinivasan would investigate why Prost overlooked Henderson’s obvious failure to adhere to Title VII while Prost was the leader of the circuit court.
Judge Srinivasan failed to return a request for comment on Thursday.
In a survey of the D.C. Circuit, four people who work at the court said it was “widely known” that Henderson hires only men and yet court leaders have not acted. “Why would they act on reports of other discrimination?” one respondent is quoted by the Post as stating.
Are taxpayers expected to just fork over a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year in salary to a federal judge and then look the other way for 32 years?
Here’s the unrepentant statement that Judge Henderson released to the Post:
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