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.
Analyzing government data from nearly three decades, The Associated Press 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, including the Chicago office headed by U.S. Attorney John Lausch, 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 the leadership of those offices holds immense sway. Without a diverse group considering cases, bias can seep 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.
The enduring imbalance leaves U.S. attorneys looking less like the people they serve and is in stark contrast to the population of federal prisons, where a disproportionate share of those incarcerated are Black.
“When you take it in the aggregate, it becomes very