October 22, 2007

"Justice Clarence Thomas is the winner of the Partisan Voting Award for the most politically skewed voting pattern."

According to Thomas J. Miles and Cass R. Sunstein.
Justice John Paul Stevens is the runner-up...

The Judicial Restraint Award, for the most humble exercise of judicial power, goes to Justice Stephen G. Breyer....

The Judicial Activism Award, for aggressive use of judicial power, goes to a most surprising winner: Justice Antonin Scalia....
And Anthony Kennedy is the most neutral, followed by David Souter.

Agree?

ADDED: This is making me think of that radio show I did with Sunstein the day Samuel Alito was nominated to the Supreme Court:
Cass Sunstein came ready with statistics based on reading 41 Alito dissents and concluding that Alito was a predictable conservative vote, a point he repeated at least five times. And then he accused me of spinning.... Isn't this like "he who smelt it, dealt it"? He who detects spinning is the spinner?
IN THE COMMENTS: Henry writes:
I'm sure Sunstein's and Miles' methodology is spot on. So, in the spirit of the Emmy's, I suggest the following:

The Consistent Application of Principles Award goes to Justice Clarence Thomas.

The What-Side-of-Bed-Did-I-Get-Out-of-Today Award goes to Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The Check Executive Power Award goes to Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Check? Moi? Award goes to Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

(As an aside -- remember how concerned the left was with the idea that Roberts and Alito would be too prone to defer the executive branch? Apparently deference is a good thing!)

Thanks for the opening, Professors.
Very well put! I haven't examined the empirical methodology, so I have no idea what skewing and bias may lie therein, but Miles and Sunstein have skewed the labels like mad. Thanks to Henry for doing the reverse-skew so well.

43 comments:

hdhouse said...

oh hell yes.

Blake said...

I'm just a layman but I've grown to like Thomas over the years because he's consistent in a way that I understand.

"Raich" was a big one for me in that regard; it showed the abuse of the Commerce clause and Scalia should've voted along the same lines as Thomas, except that Scalia can always pull out the "necessary and proper" card.

At that point, I didn't see how Scalia was different from any other judge, deciding on a whim. Thomas' logic--that the interstate commerce clause should be used to, you know, regulate interstate commerce hardly seems partisan. (And if so, which party? The Hemp Party?)

B said...

No, frankly, I don't.

One of the most insidious - and shamefully dishonest - wiles of the American left is the attitude of "if you can't win the argument, then change the definitions of the words."

"Activist" Judges has one meaning in this culture, for right or wrong - judges who do not adhere to original intent or strict construction, and therefore seek to read into the Constitution what is not there, bending it's words to their preconceived intent.

The article uses activist in the form of someone willing to overturn precedent - precedents done by the original activist (read mostly Warren/Burger)judges.

How ridiculous.

Make your point, left-leaners, but don't break the language contract to do it.

I am pro-life: read anti-abortion. I don't go around as one of those mindless idiots saying "I'm pro-choice - just choose before you have sex" because I get the meaning of the phrase "pro-choice".

This ridiculous commentary will continue to be a piece of meaningless, amusing fluff, taken seriously only by those life nerds with too much time on their , well,hands; people who need a real life.

Fred Soto said...

Well, to be fair, judicial interpretation of the Constitution rarely yields finite results. I've always viewed judicial "activism" as meaning a Judge that doesn't adhere to modern precedent.

By the latter definition, Judge Scalia -is- "active" when he works to reverse case law that was decided decades ago. He is "active" by refusing to entertain cases that would continue to build upon modern precedent. Reversing modern law or precedent, or "simply doing nothing" can be considered an active choice to 'do something'.

An obvious example of this is Roe v. Wade. Decades after the ruling, courts have worked to deny its meaning in various ways, and Justice Roberts will likely hand an opinion that reverses it if we end up with Gridlock in 2008.

Where these judges become active, is that they believe they can shape the courts in a way that previous course could not. For some reason, Justice John Robert's court knows something that Scalia, Rehnquist or Warren's court's did not. It is the nature of the beast.

Fred Soto said...

Recent cases that are good examples of Judicial Activism?

ROE v. WADE, 410 US 113 (1973)
BUSH v. GORE, 531 US 98 (2000)
GRUTTER v. BOLLINGER, 123 S.Ct. 2325 (2003)
LAWRENCE v. TEXAS, 539 US 558 (2003).

hint: only one was considered "liberal" and therefore "not adherent to constitutional principles".

Simon said...

Once again proving that while numbers may not lie, they may be used to try and prove a point that they don't prove. By their own concession, they adopt a quite dubious framework for deciding what the conservative result is (as all such frameworks are -- who were the conservatives in Phillip Morris, Scalia and Thomas who voted to sustain the massive punitive damages award against a major corporation, or Roberts and Alito who voted to uphold it? Who are the conservatives in the Apprendi line of cases?) and as B says, the idea that one becomes a judicial activist by striking down laws or agency regulations simply doesn't comport with the meaning the phrase has born for several decades. Yawn.

rcocean said...

The whole analysis is absurd. It sounds like something Nina Totenberg would write.

First, Stevens actually has a bigger gap between "liberal" or "conservative" than Thomas - so he is actually the most "partisan".

Secondly, their definition liberal vs. conservation is suspect. If the favor the IRS is that conservative or liberal? If you vote for DoD, is that liberal or conservative? What about the FDA?

Thirdly, activist had nothing to do with overturning agency decisions. You'd have to look at the opinion and why they before concluding it was 'activism', which I define as basing decisions without regard for the original intent and plain meaning of the constitution or law.

The striking down of New Deal legislation by the Hughes court was an example of conservative 'activism'.

Kirk said...

"Agree?"

I can't speak directly to the question, but I will say it's definitely kill-the-messenger time: Sunstein is about the last person I'd trust to come up with an accurate list of "politically skewed voting patterns". Sheesh.

Trumpit said...

Scalia and Thomas who voted to sustain the massive punitive damages award against a major corporation, or Roberts and Alito who voted to uphold it? - Simon

Simple Simon,

"Sustain" and "uphold" mean the same thing.

Trumpit said...

And while I'm at it, "...comport with the meaning the phrase has born for several decades."

Simple Simon,
The past participle of "to bear" is borne. Get yourself a dictionary.

Fred Soto said...

Conservatives aren't immune to the issue of morality, ya know. Just because some conservatives kneel before the almighty dollar, while others kneel before God doesn't make one or the other more conservative, or more or less activist or likely to become 'activist'.

I think you need to look at the individuals, how are they deciding their cases and are they adhering to precedent (case law) or rewriting it for political reasons. 21st Century law will see a lot more of this judicial "activism" due to polarization of American politics.

In this era of partisan hacks, reason has lost all meaning; political arguments are synonymous with policy arguments. Politics and "reason" are one and the same, all you need to do is read the comments on this blog to see it in action.

Before anyone points it out, I am not 'above' the hypocrisy.

Cheers.

Paco Wové said...

"...who were the conservatives in Phillip Morris, Scalia and Thomas who voted to sustain the massive punitive damages award against a major corporation, or Roberts and Alito who voted to overturn it?"

There, fixed.

Simon said...

Trumpit - a slip of the tongue, so to speak, on my part. Scalia and Thomas voted with Ginsburg and Stevens to uphold the damages award while Roberts and Alito voted (seeemingly) to take apart the award based on the theory that the due process clause places a cap on punitive damages.

radar said...

Setting aside all the definitional problems of what is conservative and what is liberal, the authors of this study seem to be asserting that conservative and liberal ideologies *must* be equally represented. Why would that be the case? Is there some reason to believe that Supreme Court case decisions must be equally distributed between these two ideologies?

Mr. Grumpy said...

One of the most insidious - and shamefully dishonest - wiles of the American left is the attitude of "if you can't win the argument, then change the definitions of the words."

Bullshit.

When you fake conservatives start acting like conservatives--according to the definition of the word "conservative"--then get back to me. Until then, turn the hypocrisy down a couple orders of magnitude, ok?

B said...

Grumpy,

Thank you for quoting and then illustrating my point.

hdhouse said...

b...

you are irksum and off topic. what do you do when you go out for breakfast? yes waiter, i'll have the scrambled egg special but make them only with the "right" eggs?

Mr. Grumpy said...

Thank you for quoting and then illustrating my point.

You have no point. You're guilty of slobbering and I'm wiping your chin for you.

Look up the definition of conservative little "b" and get back to me when you have something besides insipid, hypocritical spin.

hdhouse said...

bravo mr. grumpy. i get tired of wiping up after these kids all by myself.

the dictionary can be a friend. actually it is an anchor so our language boat doesn't drift with the wind. read liberal and read conservative.

next we will hear that the dictionary is really a leftist plot written by the MSM to fool the black vote.

Henry said...

I'm sure Sunstein's and Miles' methodology is spot on. So, in the spirit of the Emmy's, I suggest the following:

The Consistent Application of Principles Award goes to Justice Clarence Thomas.

The What-Side-of-Bed-Did-I-Get-Out-of-Today Award goes to Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The Check Executive Power Award goes to Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Check? Moi? Award goes to Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

(As an aside -- remember how concerned the left was with the idea that Roberts and Alito would be too prone to defer the executive branch? Apparently deference is a good thing!)

Thanks for the opening, Professors.

rcocean said...

"Mr. Grumpy" and "Hd" are in a race for the Althouse moronic troll award'; AKA the "LOSer"

Keep it up Grumpy! You're almost in first place.

Mr. Grumpy said...

rcocean, are you so desperate for my attention that you'll write an imbecilic comment and post it on the internets? A hint: yes!

Don't waste my time with your drivel. If you don't have anything intelligent to say, keep yer yap shut.

B said...

Grumpy,

I must respond:
Of course you are.

You live in a mental world where the day you come up against something you don't like - let us say that it's liberals being known as generally anti-increase the size of the military - you just change the meaning of the words "size" and ask people to look up liberal.

You may do it to your little self-deceptive heart's content, but you don't fool anyone here.

B said...

hd,

Jus' sayin that you must enjoy livin' in a world without actual parameters, where you can always win your arguments because you can at will change the goalposts. You know, parse the words, redefine the words, exp- oh it's a waste of time.

Where your chosen enemies are always stupid and evil and suckups and you are always good and never have to think about your positions.

Where the ability to see the other side is blinded by - wait there goes Bush! Go get 'em boy! Go get em!
That's a good hd! Yessir, ooo got the mean ol' Bushman didn't ooo?
Oooo put the hurt on his mean worthless boys and girls didn't oooo?

Good boy!

hdhouse said...

that's funny B, who said "Where your chosen enemies are always stupid and evil and suckups and you are always good and never have to think about your positions."

1. I didn't choose you. You chose me. Otherwise to be honest with you, I would never have given you a moment's thought.

2. ...enemies are always stupid and evil and suckups.. ok. what's your point?

3. you are always good"...well i do fact check if that is what you mean...
4. ...think about your positions...

Well I always think about my positions. I notice you don't.

Frankly B, you've become a lot less coherent on here lately...is it because you are all atwitter about being beaten like a rented mule when you venture forth?

Trooper York said...

Taking cheap shots at people isn't of much value. Further, it makes the "shooter" look silly and pathetic.

She may not be your cup of tea as an actress but someone saw something in her skills and she has done rather well.

But why the snide remarks? Do you feel compelled to do that so you feel better about yourself? It somehow boosts your ego? Why?
(hdhouse 2007)

Mr. Grumpy said...

My dear little "b," you've obviously misunderstood. I'm calling you on your hypocrisy.

Your response indicates one of the following:

(a) You implicitly acknowledge your hypocrisy and insist on adding to the body of evidence that proves it, or
(b) You deny your hypocrisy but are too lame to muster a defense in the face of overwhelming evidence, or
(c) You intend to "disprove" your hypocrisy by diversion, i.e., by continuing to hypocritically drone about what "others" do.

Whichever it is, it's weak and boring. In other words it's about par for the course from a fake conservative.

Luckyoldson said...

Here's my favorite tidbit: "At the very least, it is impressive to see that the votes of Kennedy, nominated by President Reagan, show no political bias at all -- and that Breyer, nominated by President Clinton, has been the champion of modesty and restraint."

Luckyoldson said...

Mr. Grumpy said..."rcocean, Don't waste my time with your drivel. If you don't have anything intelligent to say, keep yer yap shut."

GFL.

Luckyoldson said...

B said..."Grumpy,
You live in a mental world where the day you come up against something you don't like - let us say that it's liberals being known as generally anti-increase the size of the military..."

Liberals are generally "anti-increase the size of the military"??

First of all I don't think that even makes sense in a grammatical sense.

Second, would you consider Rummy one of your liberal "anti-increase" people?

Saturday, September 1, 2001
By ROBERT BURNS
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

In interviews this week, military leaders and defense analysts said they believe any force cuts that emerge from Rumsfeld's comprehensive review of the military -- due to be finished by late September -- will be modest.

"Unless and until you decide you want to completely revamp the military, the current size makes sense," said Daniel Goure, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, a private think tank. Goure thinks such an overhaul is needed, along with force cuts, but he doubts Rumsfeld will do it.

So much for the talk earlier this summer that Rumsfeld wanted to eliminate two of the Army's 10 active-duty divisions, one of the Navy's 12 carrier battle groups and one of the Air Force's 12 active fighter wings.

B said...

Grumps,

You are about as incoherent as an alcoholic - no surprise there - and as thoughtful as stewed celery. Sorry that you can't refute an argument without name-calling. So let me step in your litterbox play world and swear for everyone that we all hope a mutant mush brain like you never gets near children.
Do tell us if you have sired any, as Social Services can place you at the top of it's Most Wanted List.


Hd,

I have spent no less than 7 comment posts praising your wit and sometime thoughfulness. Your choice to continually and deliberately misinterpret me sadly reveals you as the piece of human garbage that you are, a willfully evil being no better than a dog in Michael Vick's stable. Go raise your leg somewhere else, bitch.

Mr. Grumpy said...

You are about as incoherent as an alcoholic...So let me step in your litterbox play world and swear for everyone that we all hope a mutant mush brain like you never gets near children.
Do tell us if you have sired any, as Social Services can place you at the top of it's Most Wanted List.


"b," I don't know what set you off, but your comment to me is completely uncalled for. If you can't keep an exchange of comments on a blog in perspective, then you shouldn't be commenting here.

And I see that you've left this comment for Luckyoldson:

I would tell you to go to hell, but since most evil-hearted people you probably don't believe in it, I hope you die in a fire, like one of the one's in SO Cal.

And slowly.

Don't worry - no one will cry for you, so there's no time to waste if you want to off yourself.

What are you waiting for?


That's ugly, "b." Very ugly. You need to take a break. Please take care of yourself and come back when you're feeling better.

Revenant said...

I wasn't aware that "partisan" was a synonym of "consistent" -- or that "activist" was the antonym of "deferential". Thanks to Mr. Sunstein for clearing that those mysteries of the English vocabulary.

B said...

Mr Grumpy,

Before calling someone a name in your first 5 words - a "fake conservative" just to start - and before you even start to say something, I think you should have your head examined.

Perspective?
I have commented here since the second month of this blogs conception - let's see, almost 4 years - without such a morass of thoughtless people such as yourself and LOS (and now hdhouse) in the often heated but generally civil conversations. But you show yourself the worst kind of commenter, one who completely misrepresents what was said by another. That's despicable, and this blog would be far better off if you and your dishonest kin never came back. Since you're a new kid, you won't be missed.

Mr. Grumpy said...

"b," let's do a comparison, shall we?

This is what I wrote to you:

When you fake conservatives start acting like conservatives--according to the definition of the word "conservative"--then get back to me. Until then, turn the hypocrisy down a couple orders of magnitude, ok?

This is what you wrote to Luckyoldson:

I hope you die in a fire, like one of the one's in SO Cal. And slowly.

You know what, "b"? I'm going to stick with my conclusion that you need to get some perspective before continuing to comment here.

I'm sorry if my comment to you from yesterday has upset you, but that comment in no way excuses your expressed death wish for Luckyoldson. The fact that you can't see that proves my point.

You need to take a break. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. Come back when you have some sense of what's important in life. But go, please go, until you understand that openly wishing for the death of a fellow commenter shows that something is seriously wrong with you.

Take care of yourself "b." You need to get your head straight. The blog will still be here when you get back.

B said...

when you have some sense of what's important in life

What's important, Grumpy, is countering people like you who acn't play the civil game of give and take without the "faux" offense.

I'm certain you win every argument in life - you throw bombs and then adopt the martyr complex - "I didn't deserve that" by then setting up false comparisons.
You're a drive-by commenter, Grumpy.

B said...

And dear grumpy,

What a false argument, comparing what you wrote to what I wrote to someone else. What arrogance you display. That bit of dishonesty usually pops up in other places in a person's life. What is it Grumpy? You unfaithful to your mate? Skimming a little bit off the top at work? Keeping something in the closet? There's no doubt there's more dishonesty in you Grumpy. There always is in people who deliberately misrepresent what other people say - as you have done 3 times now to me in this post alone. They're dishonest in their inner core.

Trumpit said...

One of the most insidious - and shamefully dishonest - wiles of the American left is the attitude of "if you can't win the argument, then change the definitions of the words. -B

Funny, I could have written the same thing only changing the word right for left. And I don't think B is fake at all; She the real McCoy Ditto Head; She's just simply a stooge for rich and powerful Republicans who must be gotten out of power before they run the middle class further into the ground so that they can jet/yacht around to their 6 homes in Acapulo, Hawaii, Rome, Cannes, Beverly Hills, and Aspen. These are the greedy pigs you prop up, like the jokers who ran Enron, B.

As far as distorting language for political gain, look no further than the pimp/pollster/hack/ corporate toady/political consultant Frank Luntz. He advises the right-wing to simply use more euphonious expressions to win over the ignorant peasant Republicans. Some examples include renaming the Estate Tax, the Death Tax. Only a heartless liberal would want to tax death. Death and taxes are the only certainties in life, but for God's sake not both at the same time!

Luntz says to simply call Global Warming, Climate Change. Everyone expects the weather to change from season to season, so what's the big deal. My dad used to call a 120 degree summer day, "pleasantly warm" to explain why he wouldn't get the car air conditioner fixed. I still sweat like a pig in the back seat. Luntz should've gotten the Nobel Peace, not that conceited oaf Gore. The prize would have to be renamed the Goebbels Prize, in honor of the most evil propagandist of all time. Luntz could stand to shed a few pounds as well. I know he likes to order pizza while playing his pinball machine in his D.C. mansion paid for out of B's donation to the GOP.

In order to justify an expansion in logging in our national forests, Luntz says we should call mass clear-cutting "The Healthy Forest" Initiative. It is true that expanded logging will be healthy for the bottom line of the smiley corporate "forester." Luntz is right that if there are no trees left to burn, forest fires will be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, so will my next camping trip, and Smokey the Bear will end up behind bars at the zoo.

B said...

Trumpit,

You have an excellent point to make regarding the use of language and terms from your second paragraph down.

But - you are talking about something different from my point, which is not surprising from a liberal hater like you.

So here's what I'm talking about - and what liberal jerk-its like yourself can't refute about liberals: (I know it's hard for you to lose an argument, but do try and learn this time, sigh, okay):

I said:
One of the most insidious - and shamefully dishonest - wiles of the American left is the attitude of "if you can't win the argument, then change the definitions of the words."

Trumpit - I'll speak slowly here - I'm talking about commonly understood definitions of words. I'm not addressing the repackaging of using a new term to describe something. I'm talking about the opposite of that. That means not using different words to say a thing. I'm talking about liberal low-life's who say the same word, but mean something different by it. Like "activist" judge.

So Trumpit, your argument, which may be valid on it's points, has really nothing to do with my point. Maybe you should consider that before you begin your post by first attacking someone - you can't make your point without attacking first can you, child - followed by an argument that attacks something that isn't what you represent it to be.

The nanny may now come and change Trumpit's diaper.

Mr. Grumpy said...

It's a new day and our resident hypocrite-in-chief is back at it.

Yesterday "B" wrote this to a commenter here:

I hope you die in a fire, like one of the one's [sic] in SO Cal. And slowly.

Then "B" wrote:

What's important ... is countering people like you who acn't [sic] play the civil game of give and take ...

I hate to be the person to give you the bad news "B," but your license to lecture others about "civil" behavior was revoked permanently when you openly wished for the death of another commenter.

No one is to blame for your hypocrisy but you "B." More importantly, you alone are responsible for your ugly comments. Don't compound your mistake from yesterday by shoveling more of your nasty crap into this thread.

You don't seem to understand that you've crossed the line. Did you notice that your death wish for Luckyoldson was removed? Why don't you try to explain why it belonged on this blog in the first place? Or better yet, why not apologize for it and quit denying your hypocrisy.

It's time to cut your losses. Buzz off, "B."

B said...

To the prolific Liar, Mr Grumpy:

You crossed a line, Grumpy when you started lying - fully and deliberately misrepresenting what I said.

You certainly lie in other areas of your life. It's only a matter of time till you're found out Grumpy. You can email Ann all you want about people you think crossed the line, but it doesn't change the fact that you are a desipcable, dishonest person in your core - a black heart.

Try and get some help - and confess to your spouse or employer or whoever you are also lying to now.


You can have all of the comments removed that you want - I adobe all of my posts and pass them on to others.

Doving said...

I cannot condone B's over the top remarks. Nevertheless, I have read this entire thread and to be fair, I agree that Mr Grumpy is disingenuous at best. He seems to hide behind a dubious recounting of B's original statements. Maybe it's best if they both cool it for awhile.

Ann Althouse said...

Please stop this talking back and forth about each other. Move it up to the level of discussing ideas. It will work better that way. It's very offputting to other readers when commenters start with the personal attacks.