Research Handbook on Law and Courts
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Research Handbook on Law and Courts

Edited by Susan M. Sterett and Lee D. Walker

The Research Handbook on Law and Courts provides a systematic analysis of new work on courts as governing institutions. Authors consider how courts have taken on regulating fundamental categories of inclusion and exclusion, including citizenship rights. Courts’ centrality to governance is addressed in sections on judicial processes, sub-national courts, and political accountability, all analyzed in multiple legal/political systems. Other chapters turn to analyzing the worldwide push for diversity in staffing courts. Finally, the digitization of records changes both court processes and studying courts. Authors included in the Handbook discuss theoretical, empirical and methodological approaches to studying courts as governing institutions. They also identify promising areas of future research.
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Chapter 14: Appointing women to high courts

Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon, Valerie Hoekstra, Alice J. Kang and Miki Caul Kittilson


Women hold more seats on high courts around the world than ever, but their appointment has been faster in some regions of the world than in others. In general, the literature has explained the number of women on a court as a function of institutions or pipelines. The study of institutions has emphasized the importance of civil or common law systems, how judges are selected (including whether merit commissions advantage women), selector ideology, and whether subjecting selectors to elections matters for women’s appointment. Pipeline explanations have highlighted the importance of having a sufficient number of women with necessary career and educational experience. We conclude by highlighting the connection between these two literatures and pointing toward important avenues for future research.

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