Must Feminist Judges Self-Identify as Feminist?

GENDER AND JUDGING, Ulrike Schultz and Gisela Shaw, eds. Hart Publishing, Forthcoming

Queen's University Legal Research Paper No. 015-037

18 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2009 Last revised: 29 Apr 2015

See all articles by Beverley Baines

Beverley Baines

Queen's University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 3, 2009

Abstract

Feminist legal scholars want judges to self-identify as feminist. Rosemary Hunter offers a compelling argument about the significance of self-identification as the marker of a feminist judge. However, few judges are willing to self-identify as feminists. Feminist adjudication offers an alternative theory. It serves three functions not met by feminist self-identification. First, it distinguishes the professional culture of feminist judges from that of feminist legal scholars, a distinction borne out in a study comparing the use of the 'f' word on the bench and in the academy. Second, it positions feminist judges to intervene in the contemporary feminist legal theory debate between dominance feminists who self-identify and postmodern feminists who disavow their approach. Third, it invites feminist legal scholars to recognize the power dimension inherent in their relationship with the feminist judges whom they study. I conclude it is premature for feminist legal scholars to rely only on the theory of feminist self-identification to credential feminist judges.

Keywords: Judges, gender, feminism

Suggested Citation

Baines, Beverley, Must Feminist Judges Self-Identify as Feminist? (August 3, 2009). GENDER AND JUDGING, Ulrike Schultz and Gisela Shaw, eds. Hart Publishing, Forthcoming; Queen's University Legal Research Paper No. 015-037. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1443324 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443324

Beverley Baines (Contact Author)

Queen's University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Macdonald Hall
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6 K7L3N6
Canada

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