Justices Durham and Himonas on Diversity in the Law

August 9, 2018

Utah Supreme Court Justices Durham and Himonas visited BYU Law School’s American Constitution Society Student Chapter to speak on diversity in the law. Justice Himonas began the evening by identifying the connection between diversity and bias. He explained that the more diverse any decision-making group can be, especially within the law, the less likely bias will influence the outcome. He concluded his remarks by suggesting that the decisions made within diverse groups are superior to those made in a group of people with like backgrounds, and he invited all present to seek to engage with more diverse groups on a regular basis.
Justice Durham shared her experience of being the “super minority” as a woman throughout her legal education and practice in the early 1970s. She discussed the implicit associations, or biases, that all people acquire during their lives and proposed two simple ways to change and overcome them. First, recognize these assumptions in one’s self. Second, develop relationships with people of diverse backgrounds. This will bring richness into an individual’s life experience through an increased understanding of the points of connection and difference with other people.
Justices Himonas and Durham concluded by stating that implicit biases and associations affect everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or religion. Diversity in the law is something all must work toward achieving.