Date:
October 8, 2019
Start:
3:45pm
End:
5:45pm
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Location:
JON 6.206 (Susman Academic Center, The Judge William W. and Margaret R. Kilgarlin Chambers)
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"Politics, Identity, and Class Certification on the U.S. Courts of Appeals" (with Stephen B. Burbank)

ABSTRACT

This article draws on novel data and presents the results of the first empirical analysis of how potentially salient characteristics of Court of Appeals judges influence precedential lawmaking on class certification under Rule 23. We find that the partisan composition of the panel (measured by the party of the appointing president) has a very strong association with certification outcomes, with all-Democratic panels having more than double the certification rate of all-Republican panels in precedential cases. We also find that the presence of one African American on a panel, and the presence of two females (but not one), is associated with pro-certification outcomes. Contrary to conventional wisdom in the scholarship on diversity on the bench, such diversity may be consequential to lawmaking beyond policy areas conventionally thought to be of particular concern to women and racial minorities.

Class action doctrine is a form of trans-substantive procedural law that traverses many policy areas. The effects of gender and racial diversity on the bench, through making more procertification law, radiate widely across the legal landscape, influencing implementation of consumer, securities, labor and employment, antitrust, prisoner’s rights, public benefits, and many other areas of law. The results highlight how the consequences of diversity extend beyond conceptions of “women’s issues” or “minority issues.” The results also suggest the importance of exploring the effects of diversity on trans-substantive procedural law more generally.

Faculty Colloquia Series:
Speaker:
  • Sean Farhang
    Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law, Berkeley
Specific audiences:
  • Faculty

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