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The Infinity Project’s mission is to increase the gender diversity of the state and federal bench to ensure the quality of justice in the Eighth Circuit.

The Infinity Project advances its mission by:

  • Creating public awareness for the lack of and importance of gender equity on the bench and the availability of qualified women candidates.

  • Engaging senators and other decision-makers on the issues of gender equity and the need for appointment of women to the state and federal bench within the Eighth Circuit region.

  • Serving as a clearinghouse for women who have indicated an interest in serving on the state or federal bench within the Eighth Circuit region.


The Infinity Project believes it is necessary to have a bench that reflects the society as a whole so that judicial decisions take into account differing life experiences and points of view. Only two women have ever been appointed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Honorable Diana Murphy and the Honorable Jane Kelly in 2013.  All four appointments since Kelly have been white men.

The Infinity Project was founded by St. Thomas Law School’s Lisa Brabbit, Hamline Law School’s Marie Failinger, Sally Kenney (now with Tulane University) and the Honorable Mary Vasaly (Hennepin County District Court Judge). The Infinity Project received the 2010 Public Service Award (honoring projects worthy of replication across the country) from the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (NCWBA) and periodically recognizes gender equity champions through the Judge Diana Murphy Legacy Award.

Project Summary

The Infinity Project receives financial support from the Open Society Foundation, law firms, law schools and individuals.

  • What does the Infinity Project do?
    The Infinity Project seeks to increase gender diversity on the Eighth Circuit bench to ensure the quality of justice in the Eighth Circuit. In order to accomplish this goal, the Project raises public awareness of the issue and informs the key political decision-makers about the benefits of a diverse judiciary as well as the numerous qualified women interested in serving in the judiciary. The Project also works to expand the pipeline of appointees by working to increase gender diversity on the state and federal bench in Eighth Circuit states.
  • Where did the Infinity Project get its name?
    The Infinity Project’s name is inspired by the ongoing nature of its work and from the resemblance between the numeral 8 (for the Eighth Circuit) and the infinity symbol.
  • Why does diversity on the bench matter?
    The bench must be comprised of a diverse group of judges so that judicial decisions consider differing life experiences and points of view. In addition, a bench that reflects society as a whole will increase public confidence in opinions rendered by the judiciary. In the past few years, the judiciary has increasingly come under attack. Judicial elections have become politicized. Judges have been criticized—and some removed from the bench—for rendering unpopular decisions. All of this undermines public confidence in the judiciary and threatens the rule of law. Lack of gender diversity on the bench exacerbates this threat to the preservation of the rule of law. The judiciary’s job is to safeguard the rights of men and women, as well as vulnerable and disadvantaged minorities. The public cannot have confidence and trust in such an institution if half of those qualified to serve are excluded from the ranks of our national judicial leaders.
  • Who supports the Infinity Project?
    The Infinity Project’s supporters span the Circuit and include a diverse group of men and women, sitting and retired judges, major law firms, prominent attorneys, mainstream legal organizations, and organizations such as the League of Women Voters that are committed to fair and impartial courts. The Infinity Project is non-partisan and is supported by those who may have a wide range of differing political views. The Project has received messages of support from several Senators and other elected officials who represent constituents who live in the Eighth Circuit.
  • Is the Infinity Project partisan?
    No. Our members and supporters come from a variety of different political backgrounds and perspectives. We do not promote the appointment of specific candidates for appointment. We also do not promote any particular political parties or views other than our common belief that gender diversity within the judiciary improves the quality of justice, strengthens the rule of law, and increases public confidence in the judiciary.
  • Does the Infinity Project endorse candidates?
    No. The Infinity Project does not endorse, promote, or campaign for any particular candidates for judicial positions. The Infinity Project acts as a resource for women interested in serving on the state or federal bench, whether in the next few years or at a later phase in their legal careers. The Project provides information to potential candidates, but does not advocate for particular candidates or screen candidates to determine whether they are qualified to serve.
  • How does the Infinity Project help candidates?
    The Infinity Project strives to be a resource to women interested in serving in judicial office in a variety of ways. The Project partners with affinity bar organizations in Eighth Circuit states to offer half-day training sessions (“bootcamps”) for under-represented judicial aspirants. The Project serves as a clearinghouse for candidates who have indicated an interest in serving on the Eighth Circuit bench or other federal and state courts in the region by collecting and distributing information about the various pathways to becoming a judge. The Project helps to educate legislators, the public, and its members about the judicial selection processes at the state and federal levels, as well as offers support (mock interviews, application reviews) and connections to women interested in seeking appointment to the bench.
  • How can I get involved?
    The Infinity Project welcomes your support. You can help in a variety of ways, from joining the active members in your state, or making a contribution. You could also reach out to your senators, or write a letter to the editor or to your elected officials to express your support for gender diversity on the bench.
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