Where Have All the Women Gone? The Gender Gap in Supreme Court Clerkships

David H. Kaye & Joseph L. Gastwirth

In the world of American law, a Supreme Court clerkship is a position desired by many but attained by few - particularly when it comes to women and minorities. Although women make up nearly half of all law students, they constitute only about a third of all Supreme Court clerks. This article examines the flow of aspiring clerks from the law schools to the chambers of the Justices in recent years in an effort to locate the bottlenecks that lead to this gender gap. It also analyzes whether the Justices as a group or any individual Justices hire fewer women than would be expected in a random draw from a pool of men and women with comparable credentials. We find that some Justices hire fewer women than our simple model would predict, while others hire somewhat more. There are many possible explanations for this pattern, and we discuss several of them.

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