Women's participation in the judiciary is one indicator of aspirational and actualized formal and substantive gender equality. It symbolizes and engages broader issues such as access to political power, conceptions of agency and strategies for furthering social citizenship. The recent appointment of Sonia Soto-mayor as the first woman of Puerto Rican descent to the United States’ Supreme Court accentuates how women's ability (or lack thereof) as official decision makers remains a site of contest and contradiction. Justice Sotomayor's assertion that “wise Latina women” may well reach “better conclusions” than white male judges in specific contexts, has reignited questions about the potential impact of a gender integrated bench.

The first part of this article is an overview of the commonalities and divergences lens through which the judicial ...

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