The Gatekeepers: Federal District Courts in the Political Process

By Kevin L. Lyles | Go to book overview

action; and one opinion supporting voting rights guarantees. To date there is one significant case promoting a decreased separation between church and state for a female Bush appointee and one significant pro-choice opinions for a female Clinton appointee (see Table B.6).


Table B.6
Judicial Performance: Female Judges: 1960-1996
K* J N F Ca R B Cl
Abortion
pro-abortion rights - - - - 3 - - 1
anti-abortion rights - - - - - - - -
Religious Liberty
decrease separation - 1 - - 2 - - -
increase separation - - - - 5 2 1 -
Affirmative Action
support - - - - - - - -
oppose - - - - - 1 - -
School Desegregation
enhance - 1 - - - - - -
restrict - - - - - - - -
Voting Rights
extend 1 2 - - 2 1 - -
restrict - - - - - 1 - -
Totals 1 4 - - 12 5 1 1
*K = Kennedy, J = Johnson, N = Nixon, F = Ford, Ca = Carter, R = Reagan, B = Bush, Cl =
Clinton.

On balance, given the relatively small number of African-American, Latino, and female appointees, coupled with equally small numbers of reported significant cases, the SDCC data remain limited in their utility to assess the policy support patterns of these groups of judges. Therefore, again it is helpful to turn the NDJS data (see Chapters 8 and 9) to better discuss and analyze differences that might exist between these judges.


NOTES
1.
Others too have used a page-by-page review of U.S. Law Week for data compilation. See H. W. Perry, Deciding to Decide: Agenda Setting in the United States Supreme Court ( Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), p. 180.
2.
Unlike other previous research efforts, e.g., the Carp and Rowland's pathbreaking 1985 study, I elected to include rather than exclude significant decisions by the three- judge district courts. Therefore, in instances where U.S. Law Week reported significant three-judge district court decisions, I examined each of the judges' positions, reasoning, and holding and reported each separately.
3.
Allan D. Vestal, "Publishing District Court Opinions in the 1970's," Loyola Law Review 4 ( 1970- 1971), pp. 185-220.
4.
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, 1964. The Judicial Conference of the

-289-

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