Diversity, Dissent and Representation: Lessons From The First Minority Judge in the Israeli Supreme Court

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This paper seeks to enrich existing empirical research on substantive representation in the judicial system by exploring a case study of the Honorable Justice (retired) Salim Joubran, the first ethnic-minority judge appointed to the Supreme Court of Israel. By employing a dual methodology of qualitative discourse analysis and dissenting quantitative studies, the study investigates when, why and how he dissented in controversial cases, which are defined as cases that resulted in non-unanimous votes. The study shows that a quantitative study on dissenting opinions of a minority judge alone did not provide comprehensive conclusions. The complementary qualitative discourse analysis shows that in cases that challenged state actions that impacted his social group, Joubran employed distinct strategies and reasoning that are akin to feminist judgments approach. Hence, the study adds to existing research on judicial diversity indicating that women and ethnic minorities judges not only share common challenges but might also operate similar reasoning strategies. In light of these insights, the study calls for employing the combined qualitative and quantitative methodology on examining judgments focusing on dissenting opinions of women and ethnic minority judges as it offers a complex understanding of substantive representation and provides answers regarding the socio-legal effects of group affiliation on judgments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-622
Number of pages20
JournalSocial and Legal Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Menomadin Center for Jewish and Democratic Law.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Judicial Diversity
  • discourse analysis
  • dissenting opinions
  • feminist judgments approach
  • minority Judges
  • multicultural States


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