Name study seems flawed

September 16, 2009
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
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.
ADVERTISEMENT
  • 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.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. All the lawyers involved in this don't add up to a hill of beans; mostly yes-men punching their tickets for future advancement. REMF types. Window dressing. Who in this mess was a real hero? the whistleblower that let the public know about the torture, whom the US sent to Jail. John Kyriakou. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/us/ex-officer-for-cia-is-sentenced-in-leak-case.html?_r=0 Now, considering that Torture is Illegal, considering that during Vietnam a soldier was court-martialed and imprisoned for waterboarding, why has the whistleblower gone to jail but none of the torturers have been held to account? It's amazing that Uncle Sam's sunk lower than Vietnam. But that's where we're at. An even more unjust and pointless war conducted in an even more bogus manner. this from npr: "On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier. The caption said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk." The picture led to an Army investigation and, two months later, the court martial of the soldier." Today, the US itself has become lawless.

  2. "Brain Damage" alright.... The lunatic is on the grass/ The lunatic is on the grass/ Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs/ Got to keep the loonies on the path.... The lunatic is in the hall/ The lunatics are in my hall/ The paper holds their folded faces to the floor/ And every day the paper boy brings more/ And if the dam breaks open many years too soon/ And if there is no room upon the hill/ And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too/ I'll see you on the dark side of the moon!!!

  3. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

  4. November, 2014, I was charged with OWI/Endangering a person. I was not given a Breathalyzer test and the arresting officer did not believe that alcohol was in any way involved. I was self-overmedicated with prescription medications. I was taken to local hospital for blood draw to be sent to State Tox Lab. My attorney gave me a cookie-cutter plea which amounts to an ALCOHOL-related charge. Totally unacceptable!! HOW can I get my TOX report from the state lab???

  5. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

ADVERTISEMENT