Date of this Version
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 12.7% of Nebraska's population is African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, or another minority group defined by the U.S. Census. According to both the 2000 U.S. Census and the Nebraska State Bar Association, only 2.4% of the state's attorneys identify themselves as ethnic or racial minorities. In fact, ofthe 4,800 attorneys in the state of Nebraska, only 115 identify themselves as ethnic or racial minorities and none of the attorneys that identified themselves as ethnic or racial minorities live west of Lincoln, (in the eastern third of the state). These factors have led to fears on the part of many of Nebraska's leaders that the state's minority court consumers, both civil and criminal, face a court system that is unrepresentative and likely perceived as hostile.
Data collected by the Minority and Justice Task Force indicate that these perceptions have basis in fact. In 2002, the Minority and Justice Task Force traveled to communities across Nebraska soliciting testimony from the public on issues relevant to race and ethnicity in the courts.