Judicial Diversity on State Supreme Courts
59 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2010 Last revised: 1 Sep 2011
Date Written: 2009
State courts of last resort are, in many ways, the primary expositors of law in the United States. Criminal law, contracts, family law, wills, trusts, and estates, just to name a few, fall within their purview. And yet, we know surprisingly little about just who sits on these courts -- state supreme court judges have been described as “perhaps the most important and least written about group within the judicial system” of the United States. Indeed, the last study on the characteristics and experiences of the state supreme court justices is almost fifteen years old.
This Article presents the findings of a comprehensive examination of the demographic and experiential characteristics of all judges on the courts of last resort of the fifty states in 2009. The most important part of this examination was a survey developed for this project and submitted to every state supreme court justice in the country. We asked the justices to self-report information about their race, gender, religion, schooling, prior work experience, community involvement, bar association membership, and pro bono experience. The survey and raw data are presented as addenda.
Keywords: Diversity, Judges, State Supreme Court, States, Race, Religion, Education, Experience, Empirical, Data, Survey, Pro Bono
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation