Apparently not even the women of the United States Supreme Court are immune to the phenomena known as “mansplaining.”
For those uninitiated, let me interrupt (or “manterrupt”) this story to explain:
The researchers noted in their blog post that in the 2015 term, Justice Elena Kagan was interrupted ten times or more each by Chief Justice John Roberts and by Justices Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was interrupted 15 times by Kennedy, 14 times by Alito and 12 times by Roberts. Kennedy also interrupted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 11 times.
Here’s how that actually plays out in the court, as reported by Quartz:
Ginsburg: But when you take what the president undertook, which was just to use best efforts, that doesn’t sound like—
Kenneth Steven Geller: —Under the Supremacy—
Ginsburg: —this Court would have much to—
Geller: —Justice Ginsburg, I think it’s the operation of the Supremacy Clause.
Beyond simple etiquette, the behavior of the men on the bench can also have far-reaching effects in terms of outcomes by the court. As the team wrote:
This pattern of gender disparity in interruptions could create a marked difference in the relative degree of influence between the male and female justices. Furthermore, oral arguments serve other purposes, including: focusing the justices’ minds, helping them gather information to reach decisions as close as possible to their desired outcomes, and providing an opportunity to communicate and persuade their colleagues. When a justice is interrupted, her point is left unaddressed, and her ability to influence the outcome of a case or the framing of another justice’s reasoning is undermined.