Mother Nature, Lady Justice: Ecofeminism and Judicial Decision-making
Ecofeminism offers a feminist perspective that links gender to how humans relate to the natural world. As such, this framework explores the connections between the oppression of nature and the oppression of women, such as widespread views that both women and nature are property, are to be dominated, and are most valuable when cultivated and curated by men. I apply this philosophical and sociological framework to judicial decision-making, where women judges should view environmental issues as women’s issues and thus be more likely to vote in favor of the environmental protections relative to her male peers. I evaluate this theory using a mixed method design, focusing on environmental cases before the United States Supreme Court. Previous studies on gender and judicial decision-making examine how cases pertaining to women’s issues can alter a woman judge’s voting behavior; however, these studies have limited empirical analyses to cases that typically are associated with women’s issues (e.g. reproductive rights, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, etc.). I thus expand this definition of women’s issues and examine the power dynamics between women (oppression) and the environment (extraction). I first quantitatively analyze gendered voting patterns on the U.S. Supreme Court in environmental cases. Second, I linguistically analyze a set of solo-authored dissenting opinions to evaluate whether women authors differ in their language, attitudes, and framework pertaining to environmental issues compared to their male judge peers.
Political science|Law|Environmental philosophy
Picado, Jonathan Alexis, "Mother Nature, Lady Justice: Ecofeminism and Judicial Decision-making" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI27995429.