Where Have All the Women Gone? The Gender Gap in Supreme Court Clerkships

45 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2006 Last revised: 9 Dec 2012

David H. Kaye

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law

Joseph L. Gastwirth

George Washington University - Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Date Written: October 1, 2009

Abstract

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

Kaye, David H. and Gastwirth, Joseph L., Where Have All the Women Gone? The Gender Gap in Supreme Court Clerkships (October 1, 2009). Jurimetrics, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2009; Penn State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=944058

David H. Kaye (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

Joseph L. Gastwirth

George Washington University - Columbian College of Arts and Sciences ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-6458 (Phone)
202-994-6917 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.gwu.edu/~stat/gastwirth.html

Paper statistics

Downloads
313
Rank
79,029
Abstract Views
3,528