The Influence of Women and Racial Minorities Under Panel Decision Making on the U.S. Court of Appeals

Farhang, Sean; Wawro, Gregory J.

This paper assesses the impact of gender and race on judicial decisions on the federal Court of Appeals, paying particular attention to the institutional nuances of decision-making on three-judge appellate panels within circuits. Its central question is whether and how racial minority and women judges influence legal policy on issues thought to be of particular concern to women and minorities. Proper analysis of this question requires investigating whether women and minority judges influence the decisions of other panel members. The authors find that the norm of unanimity on panels grants women influence over outcomes even when they are outnumbered on a panel.


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Academic Units
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University
ISERP Working Papers, 02-07
Published Here
August 23, 2010


December 2002.