A woman’s place is in the House, the Senate, just not the Judiciary? An empirical analysis of the relationship between a nominee’s gender and the Senate confirmation process
Morel, Melissa Nicole
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A rampant supposition exists that the judicial nominations of females are less successful due to the nominee’s gender (Martinek 2002). It is thus paramount to further investigate empirically whether individual nominee characteristics, such as gender, inhibit the nominee’s possibility of obtaining Senate confirmation. I empirically explore this conjecture in two distinct ways. First, I employ a difference in means test to determine whether women are confirmed to the District Court at a lower rate, on average, than are men. Subsequently, I test the hypothesis using a logistic regression that examines the influence of gender and the interaction of gender and race on the likelihood of confirmation, while controlling for other factors. Aiming to contribute to previous scholarship by providing an updated empirical analysis, I offer an update to Wendy Martinek’s original analysis of judicial confirmations by using the Lower Federal Court Confirmation Database to examine whether the influences of gender, race and their interaction on confirmation dynamics vary by partisan control. Having found the effect that nonwhite women are less likely to be confirmed by a GOP Senate than white males, I examine whether gender and race are the key factors or whether the relationship may instead be driven by ideology. Despite popular belief, the analysis of the data is not supportive of an extensive gender gap and undermines the claim that gender alone is an imperative factor inhibiting women from obtaining a successful confirmation. However, the empirical results are supportive of the hypothesis that racial minority females are less likely to be confirmed by a GOP controlled Senate than their white female and male counterparts.