Cover of Robed Representatives by Taneisha Means Davis
Robed Representatives
How Black Judges Advocate in American Courts
Taneisha Means Davis

June 2025
320 pages.
from $32.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503640627
Paperback ISBN: 9781503641341



The number of Black state and federal judges has grown considerably in the post-Civil Rights Era. They are, in fact, the second most represented group of judges in the state and federal courts. Furthermore, historic appointments of Black men and women to the federal judiciary, including Ketanji Brown Jackson, as well as generally increased calls for the diversification of the courts in recent years have renewed questions about judicial representation. What does having more Black judges in courthouses and communities mean for the political representation of Black people and Black interests?

In Robed Representatives, Taneisha Means Davis offers new insights into the lives, identity politics, and actions of Black state court judges. The narratives centered in the book reveal an identity-to-politics link that exists among Black judges that lead them to represent their group interests. This link is corroborated with data that highlights numerous previously unidentified manifestations of racial representation in the legal system. Means demonstrates that only through exploration of the lives, identities, and behaviors of historically underrepresented judges will it be possible to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the importance—and limitations—of racial diversity in the courts.

About the author

Taneisha Means Davis is Assistant Professor of Political Science on the Class of 1951 Chair at Vassar College.