First Advisor

Christopher Shortell

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Queer new institutionalism, United States Supreme Court -- Officials and employees -- Selection and appointment, Judges -- Selection and appointment -- United States, Political questions and judicial power -- United States, Queer theory -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 100 p.) : col. ill.


Society and institutions of government reinforce norms that constrain the behavior of individuals. Heteropatriarchal norms traditionally favor the perspective of white, male, heterosexual, reason, judicial restraint, and democratic authority over their binary, and minority, counterparts: black, female, homosexual, desire, judicial activism, and individual rights. According to the theory of Queer New Institutionalism, these dichotomous pairs are mutually dependent upon each other for definition and maintenance. The perpetuation of these binarisms is made through language, often assumed and unquestioned. However, the use of sexualized language and metaphors are identified in efforts to draw suspicion and consternation for these minoritized Others. When the presence of an Other is missing, those that would reinforce these norms being to skirt the line between the pairings, taking the position of the individual they would otherwise criticize. By utilizing critical discourse analysis, Supreme Court nomination hearings during the 109th and 111th Congresses were reviewed for support for the theory of Queer New Institutionalism. Senators and witnesses before the committee operated within the constraints of binary thinking and instances of sexualized and gendered language, as well as metaphors, were used to perpetuate these norms and link the nominees to the suspicion surrounding Others.


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Hatfield School of Government. Division of Political Science

Persistent Identifier