Oct 14, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court justices interrupt female attorneys more often than men

Data: Cai, et al., 2023, "'Let Me Just Interrupt You': Estimating Gender Effects in Supreme Court Oral Arguments"; Chart: Will Chase and Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Supreme Court justices are far more likely to interrupt a female attorney during oral arguments than a male attorney, according to a new study analyzing four decades of court transcripts.

By the numbers: A female attorney in conversation with Chief Justice John Roberts can expect to get interrupted 2.1 times more often than her male counterpart.

  • Most justices in the study were more likely to interrupt women; the discrepancy was especially pronounced among conservative-leaning justices.

The big picture: Special oral argument rules put in place during the pandemic made the interruption rate more equitable, for a while. However, the bias quickly bounced back once those restrictions eased, compounding the barriers that women already face in the legal profession.

Go deeper: Cases to watch in the Supreme Court's new term

Go deeper