Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences


Political Science

Major Advisor

Dr. Aaron Hoffman

Second Advisor

Dr. Heather Pruss

Third Advisor

Dr. David Scott


This study employs a unique two-tiered approach, involving both quantitative and qualitative methodology to analyze the influences – specifically, a judge’s gender – on the judicial decision-making process. First, a quantitative bivariate regression analysis was conducted to determine whether a Federal District Court judge’s gender had a statistically significant influence on the ideological direction of case outcomes (which is either liberal, meaning the decision was in favor of the petitioner, or conservative, meaning the decision was against the petitioner). Data was analyzed using the statistical program SPSS and was pulled from the 2016 Carp-Manning database, which contains over 110,000 federal district court decisions as well as the federal judges’ attributes from 1927 to 2012. Second, a qualitative analysis was conducted involving eight interviews of District Court judges in Louisville, Kentucky, which illuminates the judges’ perceptions on the influences of their judicial decision-making, focusing on their gender. The qualitative study involves an intriguing population of judges that breaks the statistical patterns of women elected to state courts because, in the 2018 midterm elections, 88% of those elected to District Court in Louisville were women. The qualitative analysis includes thematic chapters which focus on three major themes in the interviews (life experience, fairness, and respect) as well as an analysis section that examines the differences in the interview responses based on judges’ genders. Overall, this study provides a distinctive approach to the qualitative and quantitative studies in Political Science, which attempt to examine and isolate the influences of judicial decision-making.