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This program is supported by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.


Latino History

Latino History

  • Latinos represent 13% of the nation's population, more than 40 million people.
  • Only an estimated 4% of this nation's lawyers are Latino.
  • Latinos comprised 2% of about 60,000 sitting federal and state judges in 1997
  • Latinos represented approximately 4.5% of the U.S. district court judges in 2001.
  • Latino judges for the U.S. courts of appeal consisted of almost 7% in 2001.

The following individuals are examples of the great strides Latinos are making in the federal judiciary:

  • Reynaldo G. Garza became the first Hispanic federal judge when he was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of Texas in 1961 by President Kennedy. He also became the first Latino judge on a U.S. Court of Appeals when he was appointed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1979.
  • Jose Cabranes became the first Puerto Rican lawyer appointed to the federal court of appeals when he was appointed to the Second Circuit by President Clinton in 1994.
  • Carmen Consuelo Cerezo was the first Latina appointed to a federal court (Puerto Rico); she was appointed by President Carter in 1980.
  • Sonya Sotomayor was the first Puerto Rican woman appointed to a federal court of appeals, when she was appointed by President Clinton to the Second Circuit in 1998.