Court Watch: Wise Women, Impacting the Courts?
By Garance Franke-Ruta
* CQ's Seth Stern reports that Sonia Sotomayor is awfully fond of the wise woman construction that's gotten her into such hot water.
"Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor delivered multiple speeches between 1994 and 2003 in which she suggested 'a wise Latina woman' or 'wise woman' judge might 'reach a better conclusion' than a male judge," he writes.
"Those speeches, released Thursday as part of Sotomayor's responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee's questionnaire, (to see Sotomayor's responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee click here and here) suggest her widely quoted 2001 speech in which she indicated a 'wise Latina' judge might make a better decision was far from a single isolated instance."
* Still lighting up the blogs is a 2008 study by Christina L. Boyd, Lee Epstein, and Andrew D. Martin that finds wise men and wise women actually do judge the same way -- with one crucial difference. "Applying matching methods to thirteen areas of law, we observe consistent gender effects in only one -- sex discrimination. For these disputes, the probability of a judge deciding in favor of the party alleging discrimination decreases by about 10 percentage points when the judge is a male. Likewise, when a woman serves on a panel with men, the men are significantly more likely to rule in favor of the rights litigant. These results are consistent with an informational account of gendered judging and are inconsistent with several others," they write. They've also detailed their results here in The Post.
* Sotomayor's documents submitted to the Judiciary Committee reveal she owes $15,000 in dental bills.
* And this very cool graphic on the ideological history of the court gives a sense of how liberal or conservative each Supreme Court justice was between 1937 and 2007 -- as well as what the ideological trajectories on the bench have been.
Posted at 9:01 AM ET on Jun 5, 2009
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