March 11, 2011
Supreme Court Bench Represents Third Female Majority
In recognition of National Women’s History Month, there’s no denying that 2011 ushered in a historic period for women on the Supreme Court of Ohio.
The New Year saw Maureen O’Connor become the first woman Chief Justice in the 208-year history of the Supreme Court and Yvette McGee Brown become the first African-American woman Justice.
But those facts only tell part of the story. For the third time ever, the Supreme Court has a female majority among its membership and all three of those have occurred since 2003.
The election of Justice O’Connor to her first term in 2002 achieved the first female majority, which also included Justices Alice Robie Resnick, Deborah L. Cook and Evelyn Lundberg Stratton. The 4-3 gender split lasted only a few months because of Justice Cook’s appointment to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in May 2003.
When Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger began her first term on Jan. 1, 2005, the Court again experienced a female majority. This one lasted two years until Justice Resnick left the Court on Jan. 1, 2007.
The current female majority consists of Chief Justice O’Connor and Justices Stratton, Lanzinger and McGee Brown.
To date, the eight women that have served as Justices on the Supreme Court still represent a small minority over time of less than 5 percent of the 153 people who have served on the high court.