Tag Archives: supreme court

Gender, Power Dynamics and the Supreme Court

250px-russellhousesmallerFrom Joli Holmes ’17:

Do men talk over women even in elite settings? Whether it is the corporate board room or the kitchen table, gender dynamics affect the way men and women talk to one another. One would hope women who hold public office do not face similar biases, but this study shows, even on the Supreme Court women are spoken too differently than men. Using R, Python and a high-performance computing cluster, we obtained the text and audio from over 500,000 utterances during oral arguments from 1982-2014. Ultimately, we show male Justices and attorneys display verbal and non-verbal dominance towards female Justices.

This study is part of a larger research agenda that emphasizes the importance of elite non-verbal behavior, such as changes in vocal pitch. Unlike other time series, vocal pitch is incredibly stable at short intervals, meaning it can be extracted using a windowed autocorrelation function. While there are a number of other variables one can use, vocal pitch has been shown to be associated with dominance, even in institutional settings, making it particular useful for this application, and one of the first to highlight “Panel effects” long noted by judicial scholars. We show vocal pitch is not only indicative of underlying gender dynamics, but it also influences voting behavior. With that said, there are a number of other ways audio can be used for research, ranging from speaker segmentation to supervised classification. Part of the presentation will lay an important foundation and provide some guidelines for those interested in using these techniques for future work.

BRYCE J. DIETRICH Assistant Professor of Political Science and Sociology University of Iowa

Sponsored by: Digital and computational knowledge Initiative (http://dacki.blogs.wesleyan.edu )

Date: Thursday, November 3
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: Russell House (350 High Street)

Spotted at the Supreme Court: Lezra ’11 Participating in “Most Obscure Protest”

Tons and tons and tons of young activists (including a handful of conservatives) descended on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court this week to express their support or opposition towards same-sex marriage as justices hear arguments that may well strike down the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8. Of the many demonstrators, perhaps none are nerdier than a pack of students from the Georgetown University Law Center, who are predominantly peeved about the Court’s decision to “review the arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry using rational basis, the most lenient form of judicial review in the U.S. court system.” Haven’t been to law school yet? DCist’s Benjamin Freed, who dubs it the “Most Obscure Supreme Court Protest,” explains:

In a rational basis review, judges test if a law or other governmental action is in the reasonable interests of that government in a way that passes muster with the Fifth or 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The standard gives a wide berth to state laws, such as Proposition 8.

Spotted among the crew, second from the left in that photo, is former Argus editor, prolific soccer blogger, and all-around friendly dude Gabe Lezra ’11, who elaborates on his crew’s moral indignation:

“Rational basis means that the court will give great deference to any state law passed so long as that it is rationally related to government interests,” said Gabe Lezra, who was propped up one of four posters decorated to look like a court brief.

“We were going to do a table of authorities, but we ran out of time,” he said.

Marriage Equality Rally

Support marriage equality? All the cool senators are doing it these days. Follow Patrick Moriarty ’14 to Hartford:

On March 26-27, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider two cases that are fundamentally about whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender (LGBT) Americans should have the same freedoms as everyone else. Those two cases will decide the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 — this is a huge and historic moment. Lend your voice to the rising tide of those speaking out in favor of marriage equality.

½ mile Community March to rally from Metropolitan Community Church gathers at 5:30pm, 155 Wyllys Street. Wear Red & Bring Signs

For more info visit FaceBook Marriage Equality Rally (Connecticut) or @ Light To Justice.

Date: March 25, 2013
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Place: Federal Courthouse: 450 Main Street, Hartford
Cost: Free

The Bill of Rights feat. Antonin Scalia

Before DJ $CALIATOR takes the stage next Thursday evening, Festival Harmony and Wesleyan Singers will open the show with “The Bill of Rights,” an original composition by Professor Bruce. (Tip: Justice Scalia will be in attendance, and you are welcome to stare.) More from Mandy Goldstone ’12:

To celebrate the visit of Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Festival Harmony, Wesleyan Singers and assisting
instrumentalists will be singing the Bill of Rights, an original composition by Professor of Music Neely Bruce. If you like four-part harmony, government documents, or just want to see Scalia in the flesh while he’s at Wes, this is for you!

Performances will be on Thursday, March 8th at 3:15 and 4:15. If you didn’t snag one of the 175 tickets for Scalia’s lecture, then you can still catch a glimpse of him here, as he has been a confirmed guest for the 3:15 performance.

The Bill of Rights runs approximately 35 minutes.

Date: Thursday, March 8
Time: 3:15 pm, 4:15 pm
Place: Memorial Chapel
Facebook: <<<>>>
Antonin: Scalia

From The Argives: Justice Blackmun Charms Wes

Tickets to Justice Scalia’s Hugo Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression went on sale this past Thursday, and what a madhouse it was: tickets were snatched up in minutes, and the real debate ought to concern whether or not more than 175 seats should have been reserved for students. (As one disgruntled commenter opined: “Students should have been allotted at least half of the tickets. We go here.” I can understand the need for quotas, but in terms of numbers I can also strongly concur.)

I posted that Scalia, whose lecture will be simulcast all ’round campus, is the first Supreme Court justice to speak at Wesleyan in recent memory. By which I apparently meant 19 years: turns out the late Justice Harry Blackmun gave the second Hugo L. Black in Crowell Concert Hall on January 27, 1993—one week after Bill Clinton took the oath of office (Blackmun expressed open optimism) and three days after Thurgood Marshall succumbed to heart failure (Blackmun conveyed great sadness).

The Hugo L. Black Lecture series was initiated by Leonard S. Halpert ’44 in the early 1990s; Blackmun’s speech was the second such lecture. Scroll on for extensive Argus coverage of the speech.

Antonin Scalia Tickets Available Tomorrow Morning

Lecture planned for March 8; Supreme Court bounce workshop indefinitely postponed.

As we’ve previously reported round these parts, Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is giving the university’s Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression, which will take place at 8:00 pm in the Memorial Chapel on Thursday, March 8. The event promises to be one of the most anticipated lectures of the academic year (I suppose you could cast your memory back to Elie Wiesel’s impassioned 2010 lecture for a rough comparison), but it has also prompted some healthy speculation as to how Scalia’s noted conservatism will mesh with our dear little college. One alumnus commenter likened the event to “Daniel appearing at a lion’s convention”; President Roth was a bit more measured in his commentary:

“I think it’s really important for Wesleyan to bring speakers to campus who don’t just preach to the choir, who don’t necessarily fit into what people think Wesleyan students think,” Roth said. “Bringing a Supreme Court justice to campus is a good thing because the justices are in positions to see the world and act on their perspectives in ways that are crucial to the country, whether we agree with them or not.”

It’ll be an interesting Q&A, for sure—for those who can actually make it. Tickets are going on “sale” (they’re free) tomorrow at 10:00 am at the Usdan Box Office, but good luck on the mission: there are 500 seats in Chapel, of which only 175 are reserved for students. Set an alarm for this one, and set it earlier than 9:55. (As the Argus reported this week, “The lecture will also be broadcast live in the Goldsmith Family Cinema, the Center for the Arts [CFA] Hall, and in the Public Affairs Center [PAC] rooms 001 and 002. Tickets for the 200 student seats in the Goldsmith Cinema will be available at the box office on Thursday.”)

To my knowledge, Scalia is the only Supreme Court Justice of any political persuasion to appear on campus in at least 15 years or so. The late Justice Harry A. Blackmun, who famously authored Roe v. Wade, spoke in Crowell Concert Hall in early 1993, just a week into the Clinton administration and a year before Blackmun’s retirement from the court.

Wesleyan, Meet Scalia

Antonin Scalia just announced some mad spring tour dates, and we’re in luck: the Supreme Court justice will be performing his new post-dubstep free-jazz side project in Eclectic speaking at the university’s Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression this spring. Props to the Argus for breaking this one:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be the keynote speaker for the University’s Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression this upcoming spring, as confirmed by Dean of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Programs Gary Shaw. The lecture is scheduled to take place on March 8.

I’m pretty excited, and apparently so is CollegeConfidential:

In other news, Governor Rick Perry gets in his own guest appearance in Olin: