Researchers at the University of Georgia and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte have published a new study showing that there is racial bias in the assigning of the duty of writing majority opinions in state supreme courts. Majority opinions in state supreme court cases are important tools for shaping judicial precedent and public policy.
The study of cases from all 50 states during the 1995 to 1998 period, found that Black male judges were 4 percent less likely to be assigned the average case than White male judges in states where cases were assigned at the discretion of a judicial official, and 2 percent less likely in states with the “random” assignment of the duty of writing the majority opinion. However, when random-based courts assigned high-profile cases, Black male judges were 43 percent less likely than their White male colleagues to receive these assignments.
The study, which will appear in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, can be accessed here.