Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

First Advisor

Kate Greene, Ph.D

Advisor Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

This research attempts to discover whether or not the Supreme Court of the United State is subject to implicit gender biases during oral argumentation, largely through examining speaking time and the number of questions each justice is able to ask during a case's oral argumentation period. While there is substantial research on gender’s impact on communication and decision-making processes, as well as gender’s impact on court decisions, most research stops before it gets to the Supreme Court of the United States. There are two main goals to this research: First, to determine whether or not women Justices are impacted by the ratio of men to women justices on the Court. Second, to determine whether or not women Supreme Court Justices speak more in cases dealing with sex-discrimination than they do in other cases. To accomplish these goals, the oral arguments of eleven different Supreme Court cases covering a variety of male-to-female justice ratios and case topics were analyzed. Each case was listened to and the number of questions asked by each justice was counted. Then, computer software was utilized to discover exactly how long each justice spent speaking. A linear regression was then performed to quantify results. Results were compared across time, gender, case topic, ideology, and years on the Court in an effort to discover any sort of relationship between gender and communication style of Supreme Court justices.

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