Report: Ethnicity Influences Judiciary Decision Making: Comprehensive Study Reveals Judges' Race Affects Outcomes in Workplace Racial Harassment Cases

By Ford, William J. | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, April 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

Report: Ethnicity Influences Judiciary Decision Making: Comprehensive Study Reveals Judges' Race Affects Outcomes in Workplace Racial Harassment Cases


Ford, William J., Diverse Issues in Higher Education


A recent examination of federal lawsuit decisions found that plaintiffs charging workplace racial harassment prevailed 45.8 percent of the time when the presiding judge was Black. The percentages decrease by more than half when those cases were heard by a White judge.

However, there were only 24 Black judges, compared with 350 White judges, to hear complaints from about 300 Black plaintiffs.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"African-American judges' (likely) experiences (with discrimination) give them valuable knowledge, perspectives and understandings of minority plaintiffs that many Whites lack," the study said. Black judges are better able to identify "subtle and nuanced forms of discrimination," according to "The Myth of the Color-Blind Judge: An Empirical Analysis of Racial Harassment Cases," which observers say bolsters arguments for a more diverse judiciary.

"All judges of all races should follow the legal principles and look at just the facts. What our research found is judges are doing that but they come out with different decision-making patterns based on race in these cases. This just didn't happen by chance," said Pat K. Chew, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who conducted the analysis with Robert E. Kelley, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business.

Chew and Kelley randomly selected and analyzed more than 400 workplace harassment cases reported from six federal circuits from 1981 to 2003. The study also examined judges' political affiliation, plaintiffs' success rate in winning a case and types of cases, such as those involving racial slurs.

Dana Horst, director of development and marketing for Just The Beginning Foundation, which works to increase diversity in the judiciary, said this study is confirmation that the under-representation of minorities in the judiciary influences the application of the law.

"The interpretation of occasionally murky legal principles ... creates an argument for a diverse and representative judiciary. Although, as the paper notes, judges of all races are equally attentive to the merits of the case, it is the inclusion of unclear principles in many of these cases that call for personal interpretations informed by specific experience," Horst said.

The study places renewed significance on the diversity of President Barack Obama's judicial picks as he tries to fill 103 federal bench vacancies.

Although the number of minority judges remains low, Obama has appointed 24 federal judges of color during his 15 months in office. As of March 10, eight of Obama's choices were confirmed. Among those awaiting Senate approval is Goodwin Liu, an associate dean and professor at University of California, Berkeley School of Law, who was nominated for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Report: Ethnicity Influences Judiciary Decision Making: Comprehensive Study Reveals Judges' Race Affects Outcomes in Workplace Racial Harassment Cases
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.