Federal District Judge Gender and Reversals

20 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2010 Last revised: 15 Dec 2010

See all articles by Royce de Rohan Barondes

Royce de Rohan Barondes

University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law

Date Written: July 15, 2010


Choi, Gulati, Holman and Posner ask, "Do women make better judges?" Their results, as they summarize them, are not informative. They merely cannot reject the possibility of an absence of a relationship between gender and the particular measures they examine.

This paper, focusing on reversals of federal district court judges, provides information more directly relevant to answering the question they posed, albeit not as to women as a whole but rather as among the limited set of men and women who are confirmed as judges. There is a consistent pattern of lower likelihood of reversal in summary statistics, overall and within each subsample of judges appointed by the three represented Presidents. The same pattern is found in the estimations, including a hierarchical linear model with random effects, which show women with statistically significant lower odds of reversal of between 6.6% to 8.9%.

The only exception is the subset of opinions not having been assigned a primary case type by Westlaw. These include appellate dispositions presenting procedural matters, as well as perfunctory dispositions.

Keywords: judges, reversal rates, gender

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Barondes, Royce de Rohan, Federal District Judge Gender and Reversals (July 15, 2010). 5th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1640876 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1640876

Royce de Rohan Barondes (Contact Author)

University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law ( email )

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