Tag Archives: judges

Rethinking Gender Equality … Media Coverage of [US] Supreme Court Nominees now on SSRN

Our project sits at the unique interdisciplinary intersection of law, gender studies, mass media, and political science.

Renee Knake and Hannah Brenner from Michigan State U College of Law have posted their interesting study on SSRN:

Rethinking Gender Equality in the Legal Profession’s Pipeline to Power: A Study on Media Coverage of Supreme Court Nominees Phase I, The Introduction Week by 

From the abstract:

“….women remain significantly under-represented in major leadership roles within the legal profession, where they face extensive gender bias and stereotyping. This gender bias and stereotyping is also leveraged against women who are featured in the media, illustrated most vividly by coverage of the most recent Supreme Court nominations. Headlines from mainstream news, “Then Comes the Marriage Question” in the New York Times or “The Supreme Court Needs More Mothers” in the Washington Post, and from the online blog arena, “Elena Kagan v. Sonia Sotomayor: Who Wore it Better?” in AbovetheLaw.com or “Put a Mom on the Court” in TheDailyBeast.com, are just a sampling…”

“This article presents results from the first phase of data analysis looking at the week following a president’s announcement of a nominee, and we report six preliminary findings. In identifying these findings, we assess the gendered portrayals of nominees to the Court, and we reflect upon how this knowledge might motivate the resolution of gender disparity in the legal profession’s pipeline to power”


Given that we’re coming up to some new “appointments” if not “nominations”, time seems ripe for a similar analysis here….


Video break: Courting Justice in SAfrica (thanks to FeministLawProfessors.com)

Link to Christine Corcos’s Feminist Law Professors post on this issue.   Her original post also offers an SSRN link to a paper reviewing Courting Justice, entitled Gender and the Judiciary in South Africa: A Review of the Documentary Film Courting Justice. Thank you Christine for pointing me to this deeply interesting film about South Africa, race, gender, and judging.

More on the film from Women Make Movies.

Courting Justice takes viewers behind the gowns and gavels to reveal the women who make up 18 percent of South Africa’s male-dominated judiciary. Hailing from diverse backgrounds and entrusted with enormous responsibilities, these pioneering women share with candor, and unexpected humor, accounts of their country’s transformation since apartheid, and the evolving demands of balancing their courts, country, and families.

Here is a link to a South African newspaper piece on the film.

Johannesburg Judge Mathilde Masipa believes that the changing profile of the Bench is increasing the legitimacy of the court. “In the past, people would stay away from the court and rather sort things out themselves. Now they see black people and women on the Bench and they say maybe, if you want justice, the high court is where you go.”

Feminist judge brings new perspectives to Germany's highest court

Feminist judge brings new perspectives to Germany’s highest court | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 06.01.2011.

Prof. Dr. Susanne Baer (Germany)An interesting news piece on Prof. Dr. Susanne Baer’s ascension to the highest court in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court.  You can read her CV in English here.

She holds Canada up as an example:

Comparing the extent to which other western nations obey their respective constitutions, Baer sees Canada as a good example of how basic law can be reflected in practice.

“In Canada, sexual orientation isn’t written into the constitution, but the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and heterosexuals are very well established,” Baer said. “In many parts of the corporate world, the point has been reached where sexual orientation doesn’t play a role at all. What really matters is what you’re like as a person.”

Here`s an english language lecture (notes) on women in higher education and the idea of quality, which looks like something I should keep in my back pocket (“talking points”!).   This is also her work (from SSRN, where she doesn’t appear to have any other papers posted): A closer look at law: Human Rights as Multi-Level Sites of Struggles Over Multi-Dimensional Equality.

Good luck to her – I hope to hear more about her work on the Court, where, according to the article, she’ll be one of 2 women out of 14 judges.  Progress!

Will women judges make a difference? [via the atlantic]

Well, here’s a difference.  Images of the actual documents are from: Judge Kimba Wood, Standing Up for Women – Jeffrey Goldberg – National – The Atlantic.

From the WSJ:

[A] Manhattan lawyer recently asked New York federal judge Kimba Wood to grant him a day’s reprieve in a criminal trial to attend the bris of his grandson. ….

Should the child be a girl, [he wrote] not much will happen in the way of public celebration. Some may even be disappointed, but will do their best to conceal this by saying, “as long as it’s a healthy baby.” . . . However, should the baby be a boy, then hoo hah! Hordes of friends and  family will arrive . . . for the joyous celebration . . . known as the bris. . . . My presence at the bris is not strictly commanded, although my absence will never be forgotten by those that matter.

Judge Wood, in a note written at the bottom of the letter, granted the request. But she did Epstein one better. Wrote Wood:

Mr. Epstein will be permitted to attend the bris, in the joyous event that a son is born. But the Court would like to balance the scales. If a daughter is born, there will be a public celebration in Court, with readings from poetry celebrating girls and women.


And on the topic of having to ask a noted female judge for time off to celebrate the birth of a boy, but not a girl, Epstein minced no words:

“Look, the Jewish religion is sexist. It just is. But I didn’t make the rules!” http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/11/19/if-its-a-girl-judge-kimba-wood-will-celebrate/