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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 11, 2010

STUDIES: JUDGE'S ETHNICITY OR GENDER MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN CASES

ABA Journal - A judge's race or gender makes for a dramatic difference in the outcome of cases they hear-at least for cases in which race and gender allegedly play a role in the conduct of the parties, according to two recent studies. . . .

In federal racial harassment cases, one study found that plaintiffs lost just 54 percent of the time when the judge handling the case was an African-American. Yet plaintiffs lost 81 percent of the time when the judge was Hispanic, 79 percent when the judge was white, and 67 percent of the time when the judge was Asian American. . . .

A second study, looked at 556 federal appellate cases involving allegations of sexual harassment or sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The finding: plaintiffs were at least twice as likely to win if a female judge was on the appellate panel.

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Professor Pat K. Chew, who co-authored the racial harassment study, said she found "the rule of law is intact" in the cases she reviewed. Judges-no matter which side they ruled for-took the same procedural steps to reach their decisions, she said.

But judges of different races took different approaches "on how to interpret the facts of the cases," she said.


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