Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access


Political Science

First Advisor

Bradley Hays




racial bias, senatorial courtesy, federal district court judges, racial disparity in sentencing outcomes


Despite the presence of sentencing guidelines, racial disparities in federal still exist. In this thesis, I hypothesize that the senators' partisanship and states ideologies affect racial disparities. This works through institutional factors and the context of the judges in how they decision make. In this study, I examine states through their senators and the ways in which senatorial courtesy influences the appointment of federal district court judges. The hypothesis looks into this influence and suggests that the more ideologically conservative a state is and its Senators are, the more likely there will be racial disparity in the federal district court sentence outcomes. In my findings, there is reason to believe that there is a slight disparity in more "Red" states, but the overarching answer is that all stats have racial disparity, therefore the United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines are not effective enough.



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.