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Sally J. Kenney - Tulane University. New Orleans, LA, US

Sally J. Kenney Sally J. Kenney

Executive Director, Newcomb College Institute and Newcomb College Endowed Chair Professor | Tulane University


Sally Kenney's research interests include gender and judging, sexual assault on campus, and women’s imprisonment.




Sally J. Kenney Publication Sally J. Kenney Publication Sally J. Kenney Publication Sally J. Kenney Publication Sally J. Kenney Publication



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Program #161: Sally J. Kenney, Ph. D. Why we have too few women judges | Sally Kenney | TEDxTU Sally Kenney | Making the Case for Women Judges



A native of Iowa, Sally J. Kenney earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa, a B.A. and M.A. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Magdalen College, Oxford, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. From 1989-1995, she held a joint appointment in Political Science, Women's Studies, and Law at the University of Iowa. She served on the faculty at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs from 1995-2009 where she also directed the Center on Women and Public Policy. She joined Tulane University in 2010 as the first Newcomb College Endowed Chair, the executive director of the Newcomb College Institute, and a Professor of Political Science.

Her research interests include gender and judging, judicial selection, feminist social movements, sexual assault on campus, women’s imprisonment, and women’s leadership. Her latest book is Gender and Justice: Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter (2013).

She teaches a service learning course on the politics of rape as well as one on women’s imprisonment. For the last three years, she has led a study abroad program working with AIDS orphans in Kenya, teaching leadership and sexual and reproductive health.

She is an avid ballroom dancer, birder, reader, and pianist.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Judicial Selection

Women and Leadership

Sexual Assault On Campus

Women’s Imprisonment

Gender and Judging

Accomplishments (5)

New Orleans CityBusiness Women of the Year (professional)


New Orleans CityBusiness Women of the Year (professional)


Tulane Athletics Torch Award (professional)


National Association of Women Judges Florence Murray Award (professional)


New Orleans Magazine, Person to Watch (professional)


Education (3)

Princeton University: Ph.D. 1989

Dissertation: Reproductive Hazards in the Workplace: A Comparative Study of Law and Policy in Britain and America. Supervisor: Walter Murphy. Other committee members: Stanley Katz, Kay Warren, Jennifer Hochschild

Magdalen College, Oxford: B.A. & M.A., Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 1984

University of Iowa: B.A., Political Science 1979

Honors, Phi Beta Kappa

Media Appearances (1)

Lady, you're on the money

Phys.org  online


Sally J. Kenney, professor of political science and executive director of Newcomb College Institute, agrees that the new bill should portray a woman who has advanced social causes. "I am for Rosa Parks, who worked as an anti-rape activist in the 1940s. Few know the history of how white men's sexual abuse of black women fueled the Montgomery bus boycott."

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Research Grants (2)

Law & Society

National Science Foundation $99,980

2018 to support a postdoctoral scholar in Intersectionality

Law & Society

National Science Foundation $99,291

2013 to support a postdoctoral scholar in Intersectionality

Articles (2)

Interviewing Legal Elites

Sage Research Methods Foundation

Sally J. Kenney


Legal elites are those at the top of their fields who hold offices (or jobs) that wield the power of law and often draw on specialized legal expertise and training to do so. They range from ministers of justice, attorneys general, or lord chancellors and judges, which, in some states in the United States, campaign and run for partisan political office, or, as in the case of U.S. Supreme Court justices or those in the United Kingdom who head public inquiries, are well-known public figures. Others may be less visible prosecutors, prison wardens or sheriffs of jails, chiefs of police, trial lawyers, litigators of public interest groups who may be “repeat players” in high courts, legislators and civil servants who recruit, select, or approve judges, ...

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Toward a Feminist Political Theory of Judging: Neither the Nightmare nor the Noble Dream

Nevada Law Journal

Sally J. Kenney


I am honored to offer some thoughts about feminist judging on the occasion of the publication of The Feminist Judgments Project. It is also an honor to be in the great state of Florence Allen whom, as I have written,3 but for her intimate partner choice of another woman, might have been our first woman Supreme Court justice. I write as a political scientist among legal academics. My most recent work has focused on women judges and, in particular, the efforts of social movements to increase their number. I have worked with women judges from Tbilisi, Georgia, to Cairo, Egypt, to Nairobi, Kenya. And from Minnesota and the Eighth Circuit (with the lowest percentage of women judges) to the great state of Louisiana in the Fifth Circuit (with the highest percentage of women judges).

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