Sotomayor: SCOTUS oral arguments changed in part because female justices were interrupted

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said on Wednesday that changes to the format of oral arguments were made in part because research showed female judges were more obstructed by male judges and advocates, CNN reports.

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running news: Sotomayor noted that studies, including one published In 2017, there has been an “overwhelming effect” and caused Chief Justice John Roberts to be “much more sensitive” to people interrupting the courtroom, according to CNN.

  • “Most of the time women say things and they are not heard in the same way that men might say the same thing,” Sotomayor said at an event at the New York University School of Law. Roughly speaking.
  • Sotomayor said he noticed patterns of interruption “without question” prior to the change in the format of oral arguments, adding that his response was often to “interrupt back,” according to CNN.
  • NYU confirmed the reporting to CNN.

big picture: The court’s new system on oral arguments, also in part out of the pandemic, allows each justice to ask specific questions after a lawyer’s time runs out, per CNN.

  • Sotomayor stressed the need for professional diversity in court, saying that when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, “we lost our only civil rights attorney.”
  • “I worry that the officials who select the judges are not paying enough attention to even that kind of diversity,” Sotomayor said, according to CNN.
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