The reason that only one Black advocate has come before the Supreme Court since October is not racism – it’s simply that there aren’t many Black lawyers in America to begin with. This, however, hasn’t stopped those on the left from writing about the fact that in the 75 hours of oral arguments heard by the Supreme Court since October, only one of the advocates was Black. The point that they seem to be trying to make is, as one blogger put it, that “the Supreme Court rules over Black people, it doesn’t see or listen to them.”
While the number 1 is easy to latch onto for those seeking to preserve the perception of liberals as “friends” of the minority groups of America, in this context, it is statistically irrelevant.
Since October, a total of 120 different advocates have appeared before the Supreme Court. Of those, 108 were White, 4 were Hispanic, 7 were Asian, and, as we all know by now, only 1 was Black. In other words, in the October term, 90% of the advocates that appeared before the Supreme Court were White; 3% were Hispanic, 5% were Asian; and .8% were Black.
There are (according to the ABA) about 1,245,205 licensed attorneys in the United States. About 88% are White, which seems rather proportional to that particular group’s representation among the advocates heard by the nation’s highest court since October.
I’m afraid that pundits have been found reaching as to the meaning (if there is one) of this particular situation. The fact of the matter is that of the 1,245,205 lawyers in America, only 120 (.009%) had the privilege of arguing before the Supreme Court of the United States. It is incredibly unlikely that any attorney – even a great one – will ever get to argue in front of those nine justices. The fact that only one Black advocate came before the Court in the last term is irrelevant.
Of the approximately 1,095, 780 White lawyers in America, only .0099% of them appeared before the Court. When compared to the .0017% of the approximately 59,769 Black lawyers in America, the difference is quite trivial. Actually, a larger percentage of Asian attorneys (7 out of approximately 42,336) appeared before SCOTUS last term than that of any other race; but that wasn’t the headline.
The fact that people are trying to turn this number into an illustration of institutional racism is both troubling, and sad. But if the left really wants to take it up with someone, they should start with the current administration, seeing as how a large chunk of the attorneys who appeared before our Supreme Court were with the office of the Solicitor General – and not one was Black.