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May 24, 2020


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I bought the book and am about 2/3rds of the way through it. I have generally enjoyed it. I am frustrated that there is a simple math error that neither author nor editors at NYU caught. 4 of 114 justices have been women. That is NOT .035 percent. (As claimed on page 3 and again in italics for emphasis you say "less than half of one percent of Supreme Court justices since the founding of this nation have been women" on page 125). In reality it is 3.5%

1 in 100 is 1%, 4 in 114 is 3.5% - the fact that 114 is less than 400 should have told you that more than 1 percent of justice are women.
In order to convert from a fraction (4/114) or a decimal .035 you need to multiple by 100 to get to a percentage.

Admittedly 3.5% is an embarrassing number for all the reasons you rightly point to in the text. But it would have been nice if someone had caught the math error, especially since you emphasize a mathematically incorrect point. It would accurate to say less than 4% of the justices have been women. That is still unconscionably low - but better supported by your data.



As I am continuing to read, on page 132, you note that "only four of seventy-eight vacancies on federal appellate courts were filled by women, less than one percent" but of course 4/78 is 0.0512 or 5.12% of vacancies. Since 1 in 100 would be 1%, 4/78 should obviously have been more than one percent not less.

Again the number is inappropriately small - its just wrong to call 4/78 "less than one percent"

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