Gender Bias In Supreme Court Outcomes?

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Interesting but alarming new research:

“Have We Come a Long Way Baby: Female Attorneys Before the United States Supreme Court” by John Szmer, (UNC-Charlotte), Tammy Sarver (Benedictine) and Erin Kaheny (UW-Milwaukee):


Numerous statistics indicate the presence of gender bias in the U.S. legal profession. To this date, however, studies addressing the mechanisms of this bias have been noticeably absent. In particular, little is known as to whether attorney gender significantly affects the likelihood of litigant success in appellate courts, including the nation’s highest court. In this paper, we test two alternative theories of the influence of attorney sex: gender schemas and different voice. We find that Supreme Court justices are less likely to support litigants represented by women. Our findings suggest that litigation teams that have a higher proportion of female attorneys are less likely to win before the Court. In addition, this bias appears to be highly conditional on judicial ideology. Conservative jurists are more likely than liberal jurists to vote against litigation teams with a higher proportion of women.

Via the Empirical Legal Studies blog and the always awesome feminist law prof Susan Franck.

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