Policy: Law

8-year study: Black federal judges 'conditioned' to go easy on fellow blacks

By |
Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Judicial Branch,Appeals Courts,Law

Black federal judges, inspired by racial “solidarity” and “conditioned” in life to sympathize with other blacks, side with African-Americans filing discrimination cases in significantly higher percentages than white judges, according to a first-of-its-kind study.

The California State University, Northridge study of 516 discrimination cases in federal courts over eight years found that black federal judges side with black claimants 32.9 percent of the time. For white judges it was 20.6 percent.

But when the study looked at how black and white judges ruled on discrimination claims made by "non-black claimants," there wasn't any difference.

“The results indicate that African American judges are more likely than white judges to rule in favor of a claimant," said study author Jason Morin in the authoritative American Politics Research. "Findings suggest that African American judges are most likely to rule in favor of claimants and that they are conditioned by the presence of racial cues,” he added.

“The results also cause one to theorize about claimant cues and their ability to heighten a sense of group solidarity, such as perceptions of group consciousness or linked fate among African American judges,” he said.

Morin’s solution to black judicial favoritism might be unexpected. He argues for more black judges, claiming that blacks are underrepresented on the bench when compared to the racial makeup of discrimination claims, which are majority African-American.

“Black claimants may continue to face an uphill battle since African-American judges continue to be underrepresented in the federal courts,” said Morin.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.
View article comments Leave a comment