Diversity Matters: Judicial Policy Making in the U.S. Courts of Appeals, Susan B. Haire and Laura P. Moyer

Reviewed by Kyung Park



It is difficult to understate the importance of this research agenda. Diversity Matters explores how racial and gender diversity affect the federal judiciary. While numerous U.S. Supreme Court cases establish diversity in postsecondary education as a compelling state interest, there is not nearly as much credible empirical evidence on this issue as one might think. Why? It is incredibly difficult to disentangle the effects of diversity from alternative explanations that are just as sensible a priori. For example, if we were to find that minority judges vote differently from those of the majority, how can we be sure that the disparate voting behavior is driven by race or gender rather than, say, the ideology of the appointing president? Moreover, even if we control for the appointing president (as the authors do), what are the mechanisms that might drive such results? A book on diversity on the bench must be able to navigate such empirical challenges and provide a sufficiently rich and balanced theoretical framework to help interpret the results.

What do the authors find? In Chapter 1, Diversity Matters explores whether race is a strong predictor of a judge’s voting behavior across various types of cases. There are a number of reasons why we might expect that race matters, and the authors provide a rich theoretical framework. As an exampl

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