When Judging Is Power. A Gender Perspective on the French and American Judiciaries
Journal of Law and Courts, 2015, pp. 95-114
20 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2015
This article examines the feminization of the judiciary in France and in the United States through the prism of the “imagined judge,” that is, the judge as he or she is represented in a specific legal culture. The French imagined judge is a knowledgeable automaton mechanically applying the law entirely created by the parliament, while his or her American counterpart is a decision maker well equipped to solve social problems. Interpreting the gender composition of the judiciary through the intellectual device of the imagined judge leads to a crucial observation: there is a correlation between the conceptualization of the imagined judge as a being exercising power, as in the United States, and the continued underrepresentation of women on the bench. From this observation comes an important hypothesis: the conceptualization of judging as an act of power works to keep women off the bench.
Keywords: Gender and Juding, France, United States
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