The nation’s top federal prosecutors have become less diverse under President Donald Trump than under his three predecessors, leaving white men overwhelmingly in charge at a time of national demonstrations over racial inequality and the fairness of the criminal justice system.
The Associated Press analyzed government data from nearly three decades and found that a persistent lack of diversity in the ranks of U.S. attorneys has reached a nadir in the Trump administration. Eighty-five percent of his Senate-confirmed U.S attorneys are white men, according to AP’s analysis, compared with 58% in Democratic President Barack Obama’s eight years, 73% during Republican George W. Bush’s two terms and at most 63% under Democrat Bill Clinton.
White men lead 79 of the 93 U.S. attorney’s offices in a country where they make up less than a third of the population. Nine current U.S. attorneys are women. Two are Black, and two Hispanic.
Federal prosecutors can have a profound effect on the criminal justice system and leadership holds an immense sway. Without a diverse group considering cases, bias can seep unnoticed into charging decisions and sentencing recommendations, undermine federal leadership with state and local law enforcement and chip away at the perceived legitimacy of the justice system.