Sacrificing Diversity for 'Quality': How Judicial Performance Evaluations are Failing Women and Minorities

20 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 29 Jul 2010

See all articles by Rebecca D. Gill

Rebecca D. Gill

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Sylvia R. Lazos

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law

Mallory Waters

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Date Written: April 5, 2010

Abstract

Because voters rely on judicial performance evaluations when casting their ballots, it is important that policymakers work diligently to compile valid, reliable and unbiased information about our sitting judges. This paper analyzes attorney surveys of judicial performance in Nevada from 1998-2008. The survey instrument is similar to those used throughout the country for judicial evaluation programs. Unfortunately, none of the readily-obtainable objective measures of judicial performance can explain away difference in scores based on race and sex. Minority judges and female judges score consistently and significantly lower than do their white male counterparts, all other things equal. These results are troubling, but consistent with the hypothesis that judicial performance evaluation surveys carry with them unexamined and unconscious gender/race biases.

Keywords: judicial performance evaluation, race bias, gender bias

Suggested Citation

Gill, Rebecca D. and Lazos, Sylvia R. and Waters, Mallory, Sacrificing Diversity for 'Quality': How Judicial Performance Evaluations are Failing Women and Minorities (April 5, 2010). Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper ; UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1580545 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1580545

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

Sylvia R. Lazos

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

Mallory Waters

University of Nevada, Las Vegas ( email )

4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

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