As I think back to February 25, 2020, when then-candidate Biden made his pledge to nominate a Black woman, the prospect of seeing someone like me on the Court was thrilling—something I could show my daughter as evidence of social change and the possibility of increased opportunities for the young women of her generation. Today, I am more sanguine about the prospect of representation. In my lifetime, I have seen gender representation on the Court triple. And yet, as I write this, reproductive rights are hanging by a thread, voting rights are more precarious than ever, the labor movement has been hobbled, and the courthouse doors are closing for civil rights plaintiffs. And the common denominator in all of these developments has been the Court itself.

As I consider these developments, I can’t help but ask, does this Court represent me and my interests? Does it serve the interests of a multiracial democracy? Is it enough for the Court to look (somewhat) like America, if, in fact, its work makes the promise of America elusive for so many?

Shortlisted does not answer these questions—nor should it. Instead, Shortlisted lays the foundation for a difficult—but urgently necessary—conversation. One in which we must ask ourselves whether representation matters. And if it does matter, how do we ensure that representation is substantive, as opposed to merely aesthetic? How do we ensure that our institutions not only reflect the diversity of our country but actively work to protect it?

It is a difficult conversation—both to broach and to sustain. But as Shortlisted suggests, it is a conversation worth having. Again and again and again.

—Melissa Murray, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

Murray's full piece can be downloaded here. My past Faculty Lounge posts about Shortlisted can be found here and here.