Edward Adams, writing for the ABA Journal (membership magazine of the American Bar Association), reports on two studies documenting powerful correlations between the race and sex of judges and the results of federal employment discrimination claims. The studies formed the focus of a program at the ABA’s recent mid-year meeting in Orlando:
A judge’s race or gender makes for a dramatic difference in the outcome of cases they hear—at least for cases in which race and gender allegedly play a role in the conduct of the parties, according to two recent studies.
Racial harassment claims and race of judges
In federal racial harassment cases one study…found that plaintiffs lost just 54 percent of the time when the judge handling the case was an African-American. Yet plaintiffs lost 81 percent of the time when the judge was Hispanic, 79 percent when the judge was white, and 67 percent of the time when the judge was Asian American.
Sexual harassment & sex discrimination claims and sex of judges
…A second study…looked at 556 federal appellate cases involving allegations of sexual harassment or sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The finding: plaintiffs were at least twice as likely to win if a female judge was on the appellate panel.
These studies strongly support the assertion that justice is hardly color-blind or gender-blind when it comes to the resolution of discrimination cases. It is especially significant given that the federal judiciary is not a very diverse occupational group in terms of race and sex.
2009 Washington University Law Review article on racial harassment claims and race of judges, by Professors Pat Chew (Pittsburgh Law) and Robert Kelley (Carnegie-Mellon Business): http://lawreview.wustl.edu/inprint/86/5/kelley.pdf
2005 Yale Law Journal article on sexual harassment & sex discrimination claims and sex of judges, by then law student, now practicing attorney Jennifer Peresie (Yale Law): http://www.yalelawjournal.org/images/pdfs/211.pdf