Building the Bench - Alliance for Justice

Building the Bench

It’s time to take back our courts.

Since its inception, AFJ has been the premier organization raising awareness of the critical importance of the federal judiciary. With more than 150 member organizations representing millions of individuals, AFJ is leading the effort to ensure that the Biden administration prioritizes filling judicial seats.

For decades, ultraconservatives have sought control of our federal courts to roll back human rights, freedoms, and liberties. Most recently, the Trump administration and Senate Republicans attempted to hijack our federal judiciary to advance their dangerous agenda. The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s third Supreme Court justice, cemented a 6-to-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Of the nearly 30% of judges on the circuit court level appointed by Trump, most are white, male, and unqualified. They have records of undermining our rights and freedoms.

What is Building the Bench?

Well before the end of the Trump era, AFJ launched Building the Bench to identify and advocate for the nomination and confirmation of highly qualified and demographically and experientially diverse nominees for the federal courts with a demonstrated commitment to equal justice. We are recruiting lawyers who have dedicated their legal careers to the public interest, civil rights, and a fairer justice system, or have done significant pro bono work in those areas.

Building the Bench partnered with 35 organizations that represent workers, civil and women’s rights, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, the environment, and consumers to identify potential judges. We are working with the Biden administration and Senators to promote specific nominees. AFJ has also built an Advisory Council comprised of influential legal and political leaders to support its work. Building the Bench will arm the Advisory Council members with talking points and resources to educate senators and the White House about specific nominees.

Laying the groundwork, AFJ has already identified a pool of candidates for the Biden administration to nominate to the federal courts, and we have encouraged these talented lawyers and judges to apply for judicial vacancies. We are already helping prospective nominees navigate their way through the process, up to and including the White House and Senate.

Because of AFJ’s decades of experience in identifying talent for the federal bench and work with the incoming White House and Senate leadership, we are ideally situated to help guide these potential nominees through the inherently political nominations process. During the Clinton and Obama administrations, working with a broad coalition of groups, we successfully advocated for the nomination and confirmation of hundreds of judges that would advance our rights and the rule of law. Given the new political environment, we are thrilled to make a difference. AFJ knows what it takes to get good, highly qualified judges confirmed to the federal bench.

How can I support Building the Bench?

We welcome your support. Contact us at for information on how you can help build the bench for the future of an independent federal court.

How do judicial nominations work?

Given that many lawyers are interested in joining the bench, AFJ has prepared a page to describe the process of how one becomes a judge and to address frequently asked questions.