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Avoiding Adversariness? The Effects of Gender on Litigant Decision-Making

  • Claire B. Wofford (a1)

How does gender influence the American judicial system? Scholars interested in this question have focused on several areas, including the substance of the law (Bender 1993; Olsen 1995; Rifkin 1981), the presence of women on a jury (Fowler 2005; Marder 1987; Taylor-Thompson 2000), and the sex of criminal defendants (Sarnikar, Sorenson, and Oaxaca 2007; Starr 2012). Among political scientists in particular, most work has examined judicial decision-making and whether the rulings of female judges differ from those of their male counterparts. Results of these studies have been mixed: some indicate that female judges vote differently, at least in certain types of cases (Boyd, Epstein, and Martin 2010; Peresie 2005; Songer and Crews-Meyer 2000), but others have found no, or only a minimal, gender effect (Segal 2002; Songer, Davis, and Haire 1994; Walker and Barrow 1985).

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