Mentor:Dr. Kyle Jensen
Research Topic:Judging as a Woman: The Rhetorics of Fairness in the Supreme Court Vetting Process
Abstract:During the Supreme Court vetting process, Senators conduct hearings to determine who they deem suitable to serve lifetime appointments and rule on cases that determine the laws of our country. Considering that these Senators are elected representatives of the American people, by studying the vetting process we can gain insight into the core values of the American society. Although there are a plethora of values one could focus on to evaluate our society, I chose to focus on gender by first conducting a rhetorical analysis of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearing, and then continue this research by conducting a rhetorical analysis of Samuel Alito’s confirmation hearing as well. The content of these hearings reveals that gender does in fact play a role in the confirmation process. Not only is gender a present force in these hearings, but gender is also connected to fairness in a way that exemplifies the underlying (un)fairness of the confirmation process. As intended participators in this process it is imperative that we critically evaluate the role gender plays in this vetting process.