Name study seems flawed

September 16, 2009
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Samantha, you should just go by Sam. Alexandra should stick to Alex. If your name is Robin, Terry, or Pat, you’ll probably be OK, according to a new study that says women with more masculine sounding names have a better chance of becoming a judge.

A paper in the August issue of America Law and Economics Review used South Carolina microdata to find a correlation between an individual’s advancement to a judgeship and his or her name’s masculinity. The authors claim they found robust evidence that women with masculine names are favored over other females.

In a news article I found about the paper, one author said that changing a woman’s name from something feminine to a gender-neutral name increases her odds of being appointed a judge by 5 percent. And if you want to just change your name from Amy to Steve, you increase your chances of taking the bench by a factor of five.

I have a few of problems with this study. First, consider some of our country’s highest judges who have feminine names – Sandra, Ruth, and now Sonia. In Indiana, our female judges have names such as Sarah, Theresa, Sally, Barbara, and Debra. In fact, after examining the list of trial judges in Indiana, there were only a few gender-neutral names in which I couldn’t tell based on the name alone if it was a male or female judge.

Also, the study used data from South Carolina. Could South Carolina show some kind of bias toward women with feminine names – bias not shown in other parts of the country?

I know some women, in all professions, have changed their name in order to try to get ahead. I hope in the 21st century that this is no longer needed, and women can succeed based on their merits, not their name.
  • If the semantics of your entry are correct, the discussed study seems to deal with judges who are appointed. If I\'m not mistaken, Indiana chooses judges predominantly by election, which may account for the difference.

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  1. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  2. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

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  4. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  5. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.