#SoWhiteMale - Federal Civil Rulemaking

26 Pages Posted: 11 May 2018 Last revised: 20 Nov 2018

Date Written: April 26, 2018


116 out of 136. That is the number of white men who have served on the 82-year old committee responsible for creating and maintaining the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The tiny number of non-white, non-male committee members is disproportionate even in the context of the white-male-dominated legal profession. Were the rules simply a technical set of instructions made by a neutral set of experts, perhaps these numbers might not be as disturbing. But that is not the case. The Civil Rules embody normative judgments about the values that have primacy in our civil justice system, and the rulemakers—while expert—are not apolitical actors. This essay argues that the homogeneous composition of the rulemaking committee, not only historically, but also today, limits the quality of the rules produced and perpetuates inequality. The remedy to this problem is straightforward: appoint different people to the rulemaking committee. To be sure, the federal civil rulemaking process is but one small part of where and how gender and racial identity matter. Even still, this essay argues that the rulemaking committee members, the Judiciary, and the Bar should demand that the civil rulemaking committee cease being #SoWhiteMale.

Keywords: gender diversity, racial diversity, federal civil rulemaking, federal rules of civil procedure, chief justice of the united states supreme court, courts, judges, decision making

Suggested Citation

Coleman, Brooke, #SoWhiteMale - Federal Civil Rulemaking (April 26, 2018). Northwestern University Law Review, 113 Nw. U. L. Rev. 4017 (2018), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3169471

Brooke Coleman (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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