Meet Our Staff: Kimberly Humphrey

Legal Director, Federal Courts

February 16, 2023

An attorney by trade and activist at heart, Kim brings 15 years of federal and state public policy experience, on issues ranging from education to LGBTQIA+ advocacy, to her role as AFJ’s Legal Director, Federal Courts where she leads AFJ’s federal advocacy to elevate the importance of the courts and judicial nominations.

Before coming to AFJ Kim recognized the devastation and negative influence of Trump, however she didn’t realize the extent of the harm that was being done to the courts – and the pathway being charted to undo many causes of social justice – even as someone as in the know as she was. But she also saw people in her community who’d lost hope and disengaged from politics completely. And she wanted to change that.  She says: “when certain groups are apathetic, we all lose….our democracy cannot fulfill its promise when entire communities are not a part of decision making.” 

On one of her first days at AFJ, Kim gleefully watched Judge Holly A. Thomas have her committee hearing back in October 2021. She says: “this was a proud moment for me because this young, sharp woman, who was already a judge, had worked so hard and was now poised to take on yet another prestigious opportunity to serve at an even higher level. But on the other hand, that happiness turned to sadness as Judge Thomas was repeatedly cut off and spoken down to while answering disingenuous questions from several members of congress. It was a shocking and shameful realization of how our democracy continues to ‘work’.”

After last year’s record-breaking progress on judicial nominations, and the progress already made so far in 2023, Kim has reason to be optimistic, even as she girds for the fight ahead. That fight includes challenging the use of the “blue slip” – a relic of the past, like the filibuster, which has often been used to block highly qualified judicial nominees specifically to oppose the advancement of civil rights. As we fight to diversify our judiciary, Kim says, we must also fight these procedural impediments designed to curtail the impact of progressive nominees: “Many do not realize that our courts do more than define the good guy and a bad ,but but also define our daily lives so the stakes are incredible. Being a part of AFJ allows me to unify movements for the common good and to expand our democracy. We bring the phrase ‘stronger together’ to life.”