Gender Equality?

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The gender of judging implicates constitutional as well as “rule of law” concerns.   A new article,  Judging Women,posted on ssrn has been  garnering attention. The study comparing male and female judges provides an empirical perspective:

“Primarily using a dataset of all the state high court judges in 1998-2000, we estimate three measures of judicial output: opinion production, outside state citations, and co-partisan disagreements. We find that the male and female judges perform at about the same level. Roughly similar findings show up in data from the U.S. Court of Appeals and the federal district courts.”

Yet judicial “output” and quantitative measure aren’t the only approach.   There is also so-called anecdotal   evidence of differences between male and female judges.   This snippet,  reported yesterday, from an  en banc oral argument in the Eleventh Circuit on the issue of whether the frequent but non-severe harassment was sufficiently pervasive to survive summary judgment in a sexual harassment case, is illustrative:

When Judge Edward E. Carnes asked a lawyer about a hypothetical workplace where derogatory, sex-specific terms for men were used in equal measure with derogatory terms for women, Judge Rosemary Barkett raised a problem.

“I can’t think of many words that are derogatory toward men,” she said. Barkett suggested “bastard” and “prick,” saying, “that’s the only two I can come up with.”

The en banc court is reviewing the panel opinion,  Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. 525 F.3d 1139 (11th Cir. 2008), in which the court found that the evidence was sufficient to survive a summary judgment motion in a Title VII claim.

The post continues  here.

-Ruthann Robson

(partial cross-post and link to Constitutional Law Prof  Blog)

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