Your Lying Eyes

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28 June 2005

Supreme Court - Color it Red or Blue?

The Supreme Court is everyone's stepchild. Liberals insist the court is a right-wing institution, while conservatives are
it is liberal to the core. So what is a fair characterization of this court?

I decided on a simple approach to determine which way the court leans. I looked at the 80 decisions handed down by the court this past term. If one of the court's liberals (Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens) wrote the opinion, I labeled the decision "Liberal." If Rehnquist, Scalia or Thomas wrote the opinion, I labeled it "Conservative." Kennedy and O'Connor, while leaning right, often join the liberals, so for their opinions I looked at the principal dissenter(s) - and depending on which side they fell on, I labeled the case the opposite. Unanimous results I labeled as neutral, as well as one case where the decision was truly split.
Here are the results:

Conservative 19 - 24%
Liberal 25 - 31%
Neutral 36 - 45%
Total 80

I think it's fair to conclude the court still leans slightly left though in the main it is centrist. Conservatives thus have a fair argument that Bush ought to be very careful as to whom he picks to succeed either O'Connor or Rehnquist in order to at least maintain the balance if not gain some ground. If Rehnquist retires, anything other than a very conservative judge could cause further shifting to the left. If O'Connor retires, there's some chance of moving to the right a bit.

Source: Medill School of Journalism


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Z man- you are a Goddam genious.
You are my "impartial idol".

July 05, 2005 9:55 PM  

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