Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Political Science, Law


Prior scholarship on the effect of the increasing number of female judges leads to three contrasting sets of expectations. Early writings and views of affirmative-action activists suggested that female judges would be more liberal than male judges. On the other hand, a series of empirical studies suggest that we should expect no gender differences. In contrast to both of these perspectives, several feminist scholars suggest that women will be more liberal only when that position expresses support for full participation in the community. These contrasting expectations were tested by analyzing the votes of appeals court decisions in three issue areas. No differences were discovered between male and female judges in obscenity or criminal search and seizure cases. However, in employment discrimination cases, female judges were significantly more liberal than their male colleagues.


© 1994 by Cambridge University Press for the Southern Political Science Association