Even at the highest court in the land, female justices are interrupted disproportionately by male justices
At a Wednesday event at the New York University School of Law, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, appointed by former President Obama, said “at disproportionate rates” male justices interrupt their female counterparts, The Daily Beast reported.
The associate justice cited a study published by Tonja Jacobi and Dylan Schweers, which found that women were highly interrupted in the courts by their male colleagues.
“We find that judicial interactions at oral argument are highly gendered, with women being interrupted at disproportionate rates by their male colleagues, as well as by male advocates,” the authors wrote in 2017.
Sotomayor said the studies led Chief Justice John Roberts to be “much more sensitive,” CNN reported. The conservative justice is more mindful, according to the outlet, and serves as an intermediary when needed.
Sotomayor highlights how this power structure – men interrupting women – is present in throughout society as well.
“Most of the time women say things and they are not heard in the same way as men who might say the identical thing,” she said.
The court’s new system for oral arguments is to not allow the justices to cut each other off. Whenever an attorney’s time is over, a justice can ask questions based on their seniority.
For someone like Justice Clarence Thomas, someone who rarely asks questions, he is pleased with the update.
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