Unconscious Bias in Judicial Performance Evaluations: Why the ABA Guidelines are Not Good Enough

Rebecca D. Gill

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

March 11, 2012

Judicial performance evaluations (JPEs) are an important part of the judicial selection process in the states, particularly those using a version of the merit plan. All states that use JPEs follow the ABA’s Guidelines (1985), which claim to minimize the potential for unconscious bias through the use of behavior-based evaluation. But these measures have yet to be subjected to rigorous analysis. This analysis of the 'Judging the Judges' survey of Nevada attorneys provides such an analysis. After controlling for objective measures of judicial performance, gender and race still contribute significantly to the scores on all of the behavior-based measures implemented in the Nevada poll. I find evidence of significant unconscious bias, as social cognition theory would predict. This result raises serious questions about the validity and fairness of JPEs around the country.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 18

Keywords: judicial performance evaluation, unconscious bias, race bias, gender bias

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: March 11, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Gill, Rebecca D., Unconscious Bias in Judicial Performance Evaluations: Why the ABA Guidelines are Not Good Enough (March 11, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2019937 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2019937

Contact Information

Rebecca D. Gill (Contact Author)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas ( email )
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy. Box 455029
Las Vegas, NV NV 89154
United States
7028952525 (Phone)
7028951065 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.rebeccagill.net
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 452
Downloads: 37

© 2016 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollobot1 in 0.204 seconds