Substantive and descriptive representation of racial minorities bolsters the legitimacy of governmental institutions. Prior research on the judicial branch has examined what factors influence the proportion of minorities on U.S. district courts. However, there are no quantitative analyses on what factors affect presidential decisions to nominate minorities for seats on the U.S. courts of appeals. The U.S. courts of appeals are effectively the courts of last resort for nearly all federal cases. Drawing on data from a variety of sources, I show that these decisions are strategic, primarily reflecting presidents’ own ideology and minority representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.