New Judicial Diversity Research from AJS

By Reddick, Malia | Judicature, March/April 2010 | Go to article overview

New Judicial Diversity Research from AJS


Reddick, Malia, Judicature


The American Judicature Society has released a new study that explores the relationship between judicial diversity and the institutional, political, and legal environment in which judges are selected. The study, entitled "Explainingjudicial Diversity on State Courts," is based on a comprehensive dataset that includes all appellate court judges and a 10 percent sample of general jurisdiction trial court judges who served in 2008. For each judge, researchers identified the year of selection, the method through which the judge was selected, the judge's gender, and the judge's race/ ethnicity. The dataset also includes characteristics of the states in which the judges served, the courts on which they sat, the ideology of the actors involved in their selection, and the environment in which they were selected.

Here are some of the study's noteworthy findings:

* Minorities were more likely to be chosen for state high courts through merit selection and gubernatorial appointment than through partisan and nonpartisan elections.

* Women were less likely to be merit-selected than elected to intermediate appellate courts.

* Minority judges were found at higher rates on courts of last resort and general jurisdiction trial courts in states where judges are required to have a minimum number of years of legal experience. …

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