Hastings Women’s Law Journal


The legitimacy of the American federal judiciary stems from its role as the non-political branch of government. Federal judges must decide cases independent of political leanings. However, Federal judges receive lifetime appointments from Presidents of different parties, and different political eras. This Article explores whether the ideology of the appointing president affects the decision making of judges within the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals. An analysis of the decisions by Republican- and Democrat-appointed judges in gender discrimination and race discrimination cases shows politics does creep into judicial decision making. Furthermore, this Article reveals the changing landscape of judicial ideology over time. This Article ultimately discusses the ramifications of these findings for the current Obama administration, predicts our judiciary's future, and suggests studies that may further illuminate politics on the bench.