Recent studies and articles are showing that the race and gender of an individual judge has a statistically important impact on how that judge rules. (This probably falls into the category of one of those “facts” that elicit the response – “duh.”)
This drives home the importance of a diverse society like the United States also having a diverse state and federal court bench. And it points to the importance of American Indian people being appointed to the federal bench. (To my knowledge, at this time, there is not one American Indian federal judge.)
The comprehensive study, by professors from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Carnegie’s Tepper School of Business, examined a random assortment of 40% of all reported racial harassment cases from 6 federal circuits between 1981 and 2003. An article in the ABA Journal discussed the results of the study. Two related articles are the Myth of the Color Blind Judge, originally published in the Washington Law review, and Female Judges Matter: Gender and Collegial Decision making in the Federal Appellate Courts, originally published in the Yale Law Review.