The Collapse of the House that Ruth Built: The Impact of the Feeder System on Female Judges and the Federal Judiciary, 1970-2014
47 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2015 Last revised: 12 Apr 2016
Date Written: May 12, 2015
This paper examines the evolving role of feeder judges in Supreme Court clerkships from 1970 to 2014. Using extensive empirical analyses, this paper reveals how an increasingly small number of ‘super feeders’ determine access to the vast majority of Supreme Court clerk positions, a system that excludes female judges. This increasingly narrow pool of feeder judges is the result of a confluence of factors, including: high levels of feeding along political party lines, an increasing applicant pool, and the attachment of career-long benefits to a Supreme Court clerkship.
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