Supreme Court changes oral argument format because female justices were being interrupted

·2 min read
Supreme Court changes oral argument format because female justices were being interrupted

The Supreme Court altered its oral argument format after research indicated female justices were interrupted more by male justices and advocates, according to Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Sotomayor said a 2017 research study had an "enormous impact" on the highest court's argumentative procedures and caused Chief Justice John Roberts to be "much more sensitive" to ensuring people are not interrupted in future proceedings, according to a CNN report.

"Most of the time, women say things, and they are not heard in the same way as men who might say the identical thing," Sotomayor said at a Wednesday event at New York University School of Law, in reference to both the courtroom and within society.

In response to instances of interruption, Sotomayor said her refrain was to "interrupt back."

The Supreme Court's new system during oral arguments is also partially a holdover from pandemic procedures, allowing each justice to ask specific questions following an attorney's expired time limit.

SUPREME COURT TO RESUME IN-PERSON ORAL ARGUMENTS FOR FALL TERM

However, there have been fewer interruptions during oral argument periods ever since the fall Supreme Court session resumed, as justices are no longer confined to virtual call hearings and can deliberate with one another in a more organic forum, CNN reported.

The study analyzed the 1990, 2002, and 2015 court terms and found the "effects of gender, ideology, and seniority on interruptions have occurred fairly consistently over time," according to Tonja Jacobi, a law professor at Northwestern University, and Dylan Schweers, a co-author of the study.

The recent change to oral arguments also greatly affected Justice Clarence Thomas, who previously had a reputation of rarely asking questions at the bench.

Sotomayor's comments about the study were spurred by the topic of diversity and inclusion at the NYU event, where she discussed her journey as the first Latina on the Supreme Court.

"If you are a person of color, you have to work harder than everybody else to succeed. It's the nature of, the competitive nature of our society, where you have to prove yourself every day," she said.

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The Washington Examiner contacted NYU but did not immediately receive a response.

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Tags: News, Law, Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, Clarence Thomas, Higher Education, Gender Issues

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: Supreme Court changes oral argument format because female justices were being interrupted