Chief Justice nominees
Keith E. Whittington
kewhitt at Princeton.EDU
Tue Mar 1 06:44:38 PST 2005
While I'm generally somewhat skeptical of the measurement and utility of this sort of thing, I should note that there have been systematic efforts in political science to do exactly what Bob Sheridan suggests.
Harold Spaeth has constructed a dataset of the voting of the Supreme Court justices for the past fifty years, labelling votes as liberal or conservative based on coding rules at http://www.as.uky.edu/polisci/ulmerproject/sctdata.htm. The results are summarized in various places, including his and Jeff Segal's The Supreme Court and the Attitudinal Model Revisited.
The justices are also put in ideological space based only on their voting patterns in work by Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, which is described at http://adm.wustl.edu/supct.php.
Comparing justices across time is somewhat complicated by changes in the issues before the Court and the membership (and therefore voting options).
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu on behalf of Bob Sheridan
Sent: Tue 3/1/2005 1:54 AM
To: Volokh, Eugene
Cc: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: Chief Justice nominees
What I'm interested in seeing, and in a roundabout way alluding to, is
that before we hang inconvenient political tags on people, we ought to
run a list of issues, such that if you opt one way, it is clear that you
are a Liberal, and if you opt the other way, you are a Conservative.
It appears that the label-hangers each have an idea in their head as to
what the criteria are. Great. Put it on paper so I can decide whether
I agree or not. Then we can all play the game. Otherwise we're just
taking potshots and no one can see where the target is.
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