Bazelon Short Circuits; or, Exhibit #233 on why it’s Often Misleading to Rely on Party of Nominating President to make Characterizations about Judicial Politics

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3 Responses

  1. Scott says:

    Good post until the end. I’m a regular Slate and Bazelon reader, and while she is “consistent” I don’t find her to be “too good,” unless one agrees that an activist posing as a court observer is somehow a “good” thing AND one agrees with the direction of the activism. The flawed reasoning is indicative of her abilities as a writer, it is not contrary to them.

  2. Frank says:

    When you say:

    “The political party of the appointing president is at best a somewhat-above-average indicator of how a judge will rule. Other factors, such as the composition of a panel” matter more.

    How does the “composition of panel” variable work? What does it refer to?

  3. anon says:

    Your critique is technically true but still somewhat unfair. The political party of the appointing president has been historically only a somewhat-above-average indicator, but these days is becoming an extremely good indicator due to the increased vetting of judges. And yes the methodology is flawed in that Bush could theoretically appoint Brennan to a court — except until you realize that, given modern reality, Bush will never appoint a Brennan to a court.

    In the modern judicial appointments game, if you know nothing about the candidate except the president making the nomination, you can have a pretty good guess at his likely votes as a judge. Does this mean that Bazelon is urging the Senate not to confirm anyone nominated by Bush? Perhaps, but only if you take her position to hard-to-defend extremes, as any position is prone to become at the extremes. And the flaw in her position is not that Bush’s nominees may not be conservative (they are and will be), it is that the downside of confirming conservative judges (to everyone except the most die-hard liberal) is not as great as the downside of bring the federal judiciary to a standstill.