The Dearth of Mothers on today’s Supreme Court


A recent NYT article by David Leonhardt  (“A Labor Market Punishing to Mothers“) points out:

The last three men nominated to the Supreme Court have all been married and, among them, have seven children. The last three women — Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Harriet Miers (who withdrew) — have all been single and without children.

This little pattern makes the court a good symbol of the American job market.

The article continues with one of my favorite arguments, that that the ‘glass ceilings’ that persist in the American job market have more to do with the demands of parenthood (borne predominately by women) than gender discrimination.   And, as Leonhardt points out:

The fact that the job market has evolved in this way is no accident. It’s a result of policy choices. As Jane Waldfogel, a Columbia University professor who studies families and work, says, “American feminists made a conscious choice to emphasize equal rights and equal opportunities, but not to talk about policies that would address family responsibilities.”

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