Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1907724
 


 



'Not that Smart': Sonia Sotomayor and the Construction of Merit


Guy-Uriel E. Charles


Duke University School of Law; Duke Law School

Daniel L. Chen


Toulouse School of Economics / The Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse/ LWP, HLS; Harvard Law School

G. Mitu Gulati


Duke University School of Law

August 17, 2011


Abstract:     
The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court in 2009 was criticized as sacrificing merit on the altar of identity politics. According to critics, Sotomayor was simply “not that smart”. For some conservative critics, her selection illustrated the costs of affirmative action policies, in that this particular choice was going to produce a lower quality Supreme Court. For liberal critics, many were concerned that the President, by selecting Sotomayor, was squandering an opportunity to appoint an intellectual counterweight to conservative justices like Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and John Roberts. Using a set of basic measures of judicial merit, such as publication and citation rates for the years 2004-06, when Sotomayor was on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, we compare her performance to that of her colleagues on the federal appeals courts. Sotomayor matches up well. She might turn out to be more of a force on the Court than the naysayers predicted.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: Supreme Court, judges, judicial performance, empirical scholarship


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Date posted: August 10, 2011 ; Last revised: December 22, 2014

Suggested Citation

Charles, Guy-Uriel E. and Chen, Daniel L. and Gulati, G. Mitu, 'Not that Smart': Sonia Sotomayor and the Construction of Merit (August 17, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1907724 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1907724

Contact Information

Guy-Uriel Charles
Duke Law School ( email )
Science Drive & Towerview Rd
Durham, NC 55455
United States

Duke University School of Law ( email )
Box 90360
Science Drive & Towerview Rd.
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Daniel L. Chen
Toulouse School of Economics / The Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse/ LWP, HLS ( email )
21 allée de Brienne
31015 Toulouse cedex 6 France
Toulouse, 31015
France
Harvard Law School ( email )
8 Mt. Auburn St., 1st Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Gaurang Mitu Gulati (Contact Author)
Duke University School of Law ( email )
210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

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