Haply a Minority's Voice May Do Some Good: Diversity at the United States Supreme Court
29 Journal of Judicial Administration 174 (2020)
13 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2021 Last revised: 21 Apr 2021
Date Written: October 1, 2020
Diversity improves decision-making and substantive outcomes. This finding has been demonstrated by numerous studies and its logical appeal is intuitive, since additional voices serve to increase the availability of information. Despite the clear benefits of diversity, the legal profession remains one of the nation’s least diverse. Far from leading the way on this front, the United States Supreme Court is emblematic of the law’s problems, and it generally lags behind. This article analyses the Supreme Court’s decision-making before and after the appointments of Justice Louis Brandeis (the first Jewish member of the Court), Justice Thurgood Marshall (the first African American) and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (the first female). It shows that the presence of a single, previously unrepresented group necessarily improves decision-making because it increases consideration of minority viewpoints. As such, the Supreme Court, Congress, government agencies, law firms, businesses and law schools in the United States and elsewhere should make increased efforts to promote diversity, and this article outlines several concrete steps the legal community might take to do so.
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This article was first published by Thomson Reuters in the Journal of Judicial Administration and should be cited as «Craig Westergard, Haply a Minority's Voice May Do Some Good: Diversity at the United States Supreme Court, 2020, 29, JJA, 174».
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Keywords: Diversity, Supreme Court, United States, History, Louis Brandeis, Religion, Jew, Judaism, Thurgood Marshall, Race, African American, Black, Sandra Day O'Connor, Sex, Gender, Female, Woman
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