July 26, 2017

"Gorsuch’s maiden Martin-Quinn score is 1.344. (Higher positive numbers represent more conservative positions.)"

"The final score of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whom Gorsuch replaced, was 1.577. Even with his small sample size, Gorsuch is lining up with the court’s conservative bloc and is beginning to resemble the 'Scalia clone' we predicted in January. Gorsuch’s score is also comparable to certain select terms of recent right-leaning justices Sandra Day O’Connor (1.382 in 1986) and William Rehnquist (1.371 in 2003)."

"We" = FiveThirtyEight.

46 comments:

TosaGuy said...

Such a sciency and objective number.

CJinPA said...

Rules of Supreme Court Reporting:

1. "Conservative" justices must be labeled more than "liberal" justices by a rate of 10 to 1. (And when labeling is necessary, "liberal-leaning" is preferred.)

2. Historically, justices"evolve" in only one direction. If you have to ask which direction, your court media pass is revoked.

Bay Area Guy said...

Sometimes efforts to "quantify" the qualitative are misguided.......

BDNYC said...

FiveThirtyEight really needs to stay in their lane. They try to do too much in areas where they have too little expertise. I don't even trust law professors to say what is "conservative" and what is "liberal" in the context of judicial decisions. Are we talking about results or are we talking about reasoning?

tcrosse said...

So many Significant Figures.

Owen said...

All hail the algorithm!

EDH said...

"Gorsuch’s maiden Martin-Quinn score is 1.344. (Higher positive numbers represent more conservative positions.)"

Is that like the inverse of A Quinn Martin Production?

Tommy Duncan said...

Blogger CJinPA said...

2. Historically, justices"evolve" in only one direction. If you have to ask which direction, your court media pass is revoked.


O'Sullivan's Law states that any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.

Owen said...

Does 538's magic number have any objective reality or is it just Nate Silver's way of protecting his franchise and dumping on his chosen targets?

What do 3 decimal places tell us, other than "fake precision"?

Ignorance is Bliss said...


Scalia clones like O'Conner and Rehnquist.

Okay.

Bob Ellison said...

"maiden"?

Clyde said...

I should hope so! If he'd suddenly started taking liberal positions, we would feel like we had been sold a bill of goods.

Quayle said...

I'm gravely disappointed. I had expected him to be at 1.352

Trump sold us out.

CJinPA said...

Is that like the inverse of A Quinn Martin Production?

How in the name of 70s cop shows did I miss that?

Quayle said...

"What do 3 decimal places tell us, other than "fake precision"?"

It is science, Owen.

You can't argue with science.

You don't want to be labeled a denier, do you?

Owen said...

Sorry to obsess on this, but I do think the "0.000" format is Nate's way of claiming authority (as if this were all science-y) and of distracting us with shiny objects. When you see "1.234" you start to focus on ranking that against "1.235" and "1.229" and other spurious crap. You are arguing about deck chairs on the Titanic. You need to stand way back and question the whole game.

IMHO.

Owen said...

Quayle: "You can't argue with science." I bow down.

EDH said...

Barnaby Jones.

Matthew Sablan said...

Looking at that chart at 538, I wonder: Why are people concerned about a conservative bias on the court? We clearly have a liberal tilt, not a conservative one.

Bob Ellison said...

Quayle, you made me laugh out loud with 1.352.

EDH said...

Cannon.

madAsHell said...

Lower negative numbers represent....what??

Ken B said...

Three places after the decimal!

Owen said...

The Nate Silver concept is too limiting. A single dimension (of plus or minus numbers to 3 or any number of decimal places) is just not adequate. We need at least one more (orthogonal) dimension, of imaginary numbers.

Come on, people. This theory needs help.

Matthew Sablan said...

"As my colleague Harry Enten and I observed in June, Gorsuch has sided with the court’s most conservative member, Justice Clarence Thomas, in every case so far. "

“Actually, Gorsuch is statistically indistinguishable from Alito when you look at the standard error (which is huge). Because Gorsuch has participated in so few (non-unanimous) decisions, the model (statistically conservatively) pulls him toward the middle.”

Don't these two statements seem... awkward together? "Gorsuch is a huge conservative, always voting with Thomas!" "Gorsuch has not participated in many non-unanimous decisions!"

So... how many non-unanimous decisions has he sided with Thomas on?

David said...

Fake Precision.

I like the concept.

Matthew Sablan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Sablan said...

Waaaaaaaaaaaaait.

There's a huge methodological error.

“Thomas’s ideal point is estimated from a ton of data this term (and previous terms) in which Gorsuch didn’t participate,” Martin said.

We're not comparing apples to apples! Gorsuch is only weighing 15 cases this term, while everyone else's data is being pulled from YEARS of data. This number is useless; we need to see where the other justices weigh in *based solely on the same sample size* to judge exactly how much more or less conservative Gorsuch is than them.

Bob Ellison said...

Innumeracy is a big deal. Nate Silver makes his living on it.

Darrell said...

Wow! With precision like that you could probably predict that Hillary has a 97% chance of winning the Nov. 2016 election.

Darrell said...

Wow! With precision like that you could probably predict that Hillary has a 97.327% chance of winning the Nov. 2016 election.

mezzrow said...

...with precision like that you'd still fall short of the precision of one-shot Barnaby Jones.

He always got his man. Plus shootin up some crude as Jeb. Some career. Some aim.

Kevin said...

Three places after the decimal!

Just wait until your SJW coworker recites all three decimal places to you at the coffee pot tomorrow.

She's faithfully remembering them right now.

mockturtle said...

right-wing leaning

We never, ever see the term 'left-wing leaning', do we?

tcrosse said...

I wonder if Body Mass Index or Meyers-Briggs score are factors in this computation ?
I could mention sign of the Zodiac, but that would be ridiculous.

MadisonMan said...

Is the Martin-Quinn score a Quinn-Martin production? (I miss hearing that at the end of TV shows).

Then I see the EDH got there first.

Earnest Prole said...

Besides the fake precision, the scoring system fails to recognize that Scalia voted with the liberals in cases such as DNA searches and other Fourth Amendment issues, due process and Sixth Amendment issues, and First Amendment issues such as Texas’ flag-burning statute. “Solving unsolved crimes is a noble objective, but it occupies a lower place in the American pantheon of noble objectives than the protection of our people from suspicionless law-enforcement searches.” The man who wrote that cannot be pigeonholed as a doctrinaire conservative.

JAORE said...

"Sorry to obsess on this, but I do think the "0.000" format is Nate's way of claiming authority (as if this were all science-y)"

When my agency insisted on dual (including metric) units on all documentation we installed software that calculated the metric component automatically. My team, licensed Professional Engineers all, didn't understand why a non-decimal English unit measurement should NOT be listed as a four decimal metric unit.

But I mansplained it to 'em.

As they were all men,they understood.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

LifeLongRepublicans are probably tired by news of all that winning.

Personally I suppose it's damaging to think of Court decisions purely as lib or con along a single axis--if that's how we're interpreting the Constitution and law (or "Law") then why not just vote on it? Within the "conservative" wing there are a couple of different judicial philosophies at work...possibly that's also true for the "liberal" wing (to me they seem much more outcome-oriented and less reliant on an identifiable cohesive judicial philosophy, but that's probably my personal bias and lack of research into that side) too.
The more the public views Court results as pro-Repub or pro-Dem the less reason there is to respect the Judicial branch any more, or in any qualitatively different way, than we do the other two branches. Seems a bit dangerous.

Earnest Prole said...

The score is dog-bites-man. It would be actual news if the score revealed Gorsuch was on his way to becoming the next David Souter.

Howard said...

Conservatives dispute high conservative scores of conservative justices. this is what tired of winning looks like

Chuck said...

O'Connor's number seems so surprisingly high.

Maybe, because since she retired from the Court, she has shifted her public statements so far to the left.

I still think of her as such a missed opportunity. She was confirmed back in the day when judges like Scalia were getting confirmed unanimously. Maybe I should cut her more slack, if she was empirically more of a conservative than I recall. Her voting record was probably better, than her opinion-writing.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Conservatives dispute high conservative scores of conservative justices."

-- Less disputing the score than the point of it.

Crimso said...

Before I take the word of anyone at FiveThirtyEight, I'll need to see their Voight-Kampff score.

mikeski said...

what is "conservative" and what is "liberal" in the context of judicial decisions. Are we talking about results or are we talking about reasoning?

By default, isn't it "liberal = results, conservative = reasoning"?

“Solving unsolved crimes is a noble objective, but it occupies a lower place in the American pantheon of noble objectives than the protection of our people from suspicionless law-enforcement searches.” The man who wrote that cannot be pigeonholed as a doctrinaire conservative.

...like that. Reasoning (freedom/constitutionalism) over results (perfect law enforcement) from the conservative side.

mockturtle said...

Anything can be quantified but the result may be meaningless. People are enamored of digital readouts as if they were more accurate than analog readouts just because a precise number is given and even though the standard deviation might be surprisingly high.