Where Have All the Women Gone? The Gender Gap in Supreme Court Clerkships
45 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2006 Last revised: 9 Dec 2012
Date Written: October 1, 2009
In the world of American law, a Supreme Court a clerkship is a position desired by many but attained by few, particularly when it comes to women and minorities. Although women make up nearly half of all law students, they constitute only about a third of all Supreme Court clerks. This article examines the flow of aspiring clerks from law school to the Justices’ chambers in recent years in an effort to locate bottlenecks that lead to this gender gap. It also analyzes whether the Justices, as a group or as individuals, hire fewer women than would be expected in a random draw from a pool of men and women with comparable credentials. We find that some Justices hire fewer women than our simple model would predict, while others hire somewhat more. There are many possible explanations for this pattern, and we discuss several of them.
Keywords: Supreme Court, law clerks, gender, discrimination, statistics, multiple hypothesis testing
JEL Classification: C12, C19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation