April 10 2017
The latest target of “manterruption” accusations is the U.S. Supreme Court.
A new study, conducted by Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, looked at oral arguments for the years 1990, 2002 and 2015. In all years, authors Tanja Jacobi and Dylan Schweers said, male justices interrupted female justices far more frequently than the other way around.
For instance, in 2015, John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy each interrupted Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor 10 or more times—meaning in total, each woman endured more than 30 interruptions.
“Only two male justices suffered interruption by another justice at the double-digit level, despite there being twice as many men as women on the court,” Jacobi wrote for SCOTUS Blog. “The most any woman interrupted any individual male justice during that term was seven times.”
The study also claims that political affiliation also affects how frequently interruptions happen. When they do occur, they’re more likely to ideological lines, the study claimed.
In 70 percent of the cases where interruptions happened, they said, it was conservatives cutting off liberals.
But one Supreme Court justice never interrupted anyone, male or female, for more than a decade: Clarence Thomas, the most conservative (and most reticent) member of the court, who is known for almost never speaking in court.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.