Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Merit selection is a judicial selection system for when a state’s constitution or statute directs an independent nominating commission to evaluate applicants as a precursor to gubernatorial appointment. The initial process to fill a judicial vacancy under merit selection has three steps: application, nomination, and appointment. Proponents of the selection system insist that by de-emphasizing politics and highlighting qualifications, judicial diversification will be more likely to increase under merit selection. Yet, there is not a clear consensus as to whether merit selection systematically engenders a more diverse bench.
In this thesis, I explore whether women are less likely to apply to judgeships under merit selection. The results suggest women appear to be less likely to apply to judgeships compared to men. I demonstrate this by using data obtained through a public records request from New Mexico that consists of information on each applicant per judicial vacancy from 1998 through 2021. These results have important implications for judicial diversity under merit selection and political ambition more generally.
Loftis, Logan M., "Gender and Political Incentives: Examining the Applicant Pool Under Merit Selection" (2021). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 8123.
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