Abstract

Abstract:

During a Democratic presidential primary debate, then-candidate Joe Biden exclaimed “I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court to make sure we in fact get everyone represented.” Recent United States election cycles continue to bring record gains for women in Congress and state legislative bodies. However, women, particularly women of color, remain woefully underrepresented in the federal judicial hierarchy and across state judiciaries. Despite their growing representation, women jurists face unique challenges in terms of candidate emergence and evaluation. This article discusses factors that promote, and hinder, the descriptive representation—the degree to which representatives reflect demographic characteristics and experiences of their electors—of women across the federal and state judiciary. As Biden’s quote illustrates, those with appointive authority can help move judicial diversity forward; however, structural and institutional blockages at all stages of the legal career pipeline continue to obstruct true judicial gender parity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-4724
Print ISSN
1945-4716
Pages
pp. 61-71
Launched on MUSE
2021-08-10
Open Access
No
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