July 25, 2010

"Almost all judicial decisions... can be assigned an ideological value."

"Those favoring, say, prosecutors and employers are said to be conservative, while those favoring criminal defendants and people claiming discrimination are said to be liberal."

If you can get past that sticking point, you can code everything into an immense database, produce some amazing-looking charts, and reach conclusions like "Court Under Roberts Is Most Conservative in Decades." You can then see into the future:
If the Roberts court continues on the course suggested by its first five years, it is likely to allow a greater role for religion in public life, to permit more participation by unions and corporations in elections and to elaborate further on the scope of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Abortion rights are likely to be curtailed, as are affirmative action and protections for people accused of crimes.
Affirmative action is likely to be curtailed? But you just said decisions favoring employers are conservative, and decisions in favor of persons claiming discrimination are liberal.

IN THE COMMENTS:Paul Zrimsek said:
Almost all judicial decisions can be assigned a molecular weight, too, provided you don't object to talking nonsense.


AllenS said...

to permit more participation by unions and corporations

Wait a minute. I thought that unions and corporations are on the exact opposite of the political spectrum.

TMink said...

I would say that favoring the law is conservative and favoring the exception to the law is progressive.


Mark O said...

This sort of coverage tells us that the writer knows nothing about the Court.

Paddy O said...

"people claiming discrimination are said to be liberal."

Kelo, in one case, shows that part of the framework to be bunk.

It favored a corporation against those claiming discrimination.

More centrally controlled government is how present liberal ideology should be determined, not people claiming discrimination.

It should be "those favoring government power over criminal issues are conservative" while "those favoring government power over economic and social issues are liberal."

it is likely to allow a greater role for religion in public life, to permit more participation by unions and corporations in elections and to elaborate further on the scope of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

What's interesting is that the article doesn't even conceive these might be issues of discrimination.

Anonymous said...

Affirmative action is likely to be curtailed?

Let's hope the quota system is put to death.

It's time.

Anonymous said...

Wow... that is among the most manipulative pieces of modern so-called "journalism".

I felt dirty and violated by the end of page one. If a newspaper can commit emotional rape, this one just did.



Joe said...

I think the important thing about this court is the influence of the JOOOOS!

Soon White Christian Farmers, the backbone of the US for the last 550 years, will be under atack, their land taken from them and their children forced into Jooish Bondage...

tim maguire said...

Never mind whether the decisions are judicially and constitutionally sound. What matters is, are they liberal?

The Comintern would be very upset with the NYT. They aren't supposed to reveal these things until after they seize power.

mesquito said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mesquito said...

It will be a sad day indeed for Liberls when discrimination against white people is curtailed.

bagoh20 said...

Well that all sounds like a good plan too me, now faster.

How about a measure of adherence to the constitution versus judicial legislating? Maybe the same result with a different label.

Opus One Media said...

You failed to mention a desire to go back to life under a distant king, witchcraft and that slippery slope toward the dark ages...but then again, I'm generalizing.

mesquito said...

Hdhouse: Have you been able to find an example of an Althouse commenter quoting Michael Savage?

AllenS said...

"Man, it's dark in here."

That's a quote from the dark ages.

Anonymous said...

HD, stop writing your blather, move away from the computer, and refill that wine glass - the cat looks pissed for having to wait.

Unknown said...

This piece can be filed under trying to get out the Demo vote in the fall.

When you hear somebody saying things like abortion and affirmative action will be curtailed by the current Court, you know they're getting desperate, not unlike Cameron Diaz saying rape would be legalized if Dubya were re-elected.

Chase said...


New York Times editor:

"Not lookin' good for the Democrats this November. Stupid Americans. Get me Adam Liptak!"

"You wanted to see me, sir?"

"Anything on the Court we can do for Sunday, anything that can spell to the American masses that changing the Dems will be wrong, wrong,wrong? Like the Court having a hard time approving Obama's wonderful choices to the Court?"

"Naw, too direct, sir. The Americans are too conservative - they believe that crap about being faithful to the Constitution and not just making it up because you 'feel' for 'real people' or want to punish your political lessers."

"So, what you're saying is, more subtle?"

"Yes sir. We know that one thing the Americans like is 'fairness'. You know, like when they say, 'I like Israel, but it's only fair that the Palestinians have their own place too.' or 'New Jersey should get a Super Bowl - it's only fair'".

"I see . . . . go on"

"I was thinking that if we could do an article on how out-of-balance the Court is - that it has tipped too far to the right - it would sort of be like to the Americans 'hey, that's not fair, the other side should get a few, too'."

"You could not talk about the Constitution in such an article - the Roberts Court uses the Constitution way too much - I hate that!"

"All of here at the Times agree with you sir. That's why we'll paint the Roberts Court as being too far to the right - too conservative."

"How exactly?"

"By getting the 'scholars' we agree with - the ones who lean completely liberal - to label each Supreme Court decision 'liberal' or 'conservative'. We'll load it towards the conservative side, sir. Then we'll 'show' the Roberts Court to be the 'most' conservative ever."

"Brilliant! The . . . wait! The Americans are more conservative now - all of the polls show the Americans want the Court to use only the Constitution, and they agree strongly with the Court's decisions."

"Except 'Citizens', sir - the one about corporations spending money on political speech. Again, sir, the point is 'fairness' - we're just planting the impression that the Roberts Court is 'too far' right, as though it's an actual 'fact'. You know, giving Media Matters and Rachel Maddow something more to exaggerate about. Eventually, the issue becomes to the Americans 'Hey - think about a Republican approving the next Justice - the Court will go so far right that it will be Socialist Russia all over again!' That could not happen, of course, but we have new generations of voters, sir, so poorly educated in the 'American Public School System' that this should take only 2 or 3 articles to make the debate go our way."

"Sold! On my desk by Thursday Liptak!"

"Yes sir!"

Xmas said...

I really enjoy the article. I mean, it really shows that Justice O'Connor could never, ever, ever be wrong on the law. That her decisions, though biased, were well thought and perfectly formed bits of jurisprudence. :)

*smiley captioned for the sarcasm impaired.

Big Mike said...

Well that's a heck of sticking point to get past. Not that the left-wing loonies can't do it.

Automatic_Wing said...

Shorter NYT: John Roberts' America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, children could not be taught about evolution.

Chase said...

The problem with this anti-American editorial-masquerading-as-a-front-page article - and the problem with the liberal philosophy behind it - is demonstrated clearly in the quote at the top of the post:

"Those (decsions) favoring, say, prosecutors and employers are said to be conservative, while those favoring criminal defendants and people claiming discrimination are said to be liberal."

The liberal mind believes that every Court decision - in fact, every law - results in "Winners and Losers". In fact, the whole of life to the liberal mind is about winners and losers: someone always comes out "better off" (the winner) than someone else (the loser). That is how the financial world, the legal world, the academic world, the social world are all viewed by liberals. It's why Democrats always tell us in their campaigns that they are "fighting" for you - they believe that a fight is necessary for you to come out better off than someone else. It's why liberal;s believe the Court should have Justices that agree politically with themselves, so more winners for the liberal side can be created, leaving more losers for the conservative side.

Thankfully, the majority of the American people - at least today - have a worldview that says that most of the time, the law protects everyone, not just winners, and that Congress should do it's job and make good, Constitutional laws, correcting the wrong ones when they need to be corrected.

Meade said...

Liptak's final paragraph:

The Rehnquist court overruled 45 precedents over 19 years. Sixty percent of those decisions reached a conservative result. The Roberts court overruled eight precedents in its first five years, a slightly lower annual rate. All but one reached a conservative result.

Huh? 30% is "slightly"?

Opus One Media said...

Meade meade meade meade

One year the SC under Roberts did 1 for 2. That year they were well ahead of pace. Wait and do you ratio counts when you get equal time. You were a shopkeeper once. One month is compared to same month not 1/12th of the year otherwise you'd think you were a great businessman in December and a lousy one in March.

Psota said...

Secret Subtext: "Help us, Obi-Lena Kagen! You're our only hope!"

Unknown said...


If you did your books once every nineteen years, you'd be in jail.

Liptak's point is retarded anyway. The Cheif Justice has no say in the make-up of the court.

Anonymous said...

Almost all judicial decisions can be assigned a molecular weight, too, provided you don't object to talking nonsense.

The Dude said...

HDHouse cooks his books every year, and should be in jail. Plus he lies and doesn't change his Depends often enough.

Anonymous said...

Actually, few people know this, but not only can you assign ideological values and molecular weights to judicial decisions, but they are woven into the very fabric of the universe a few seconds after the big bang.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Big Bang is the only theory you need when you're busy trying to include every recently arrived immigrant and disgruntled lesbian.

THAT'S how big the tent is people.

Jason said...

This is the most embarrassingly stupid piece of legal reasoning I've ever seen.

Other than Kagan's position on military recruiters.

Oh, and anything that ever came out of Eric Holder's office.

halojones-fan said...

Stories like this remind of those jokes where there's about five minutes of logical-sounding blather and it ends with "and that, your honor, is how I came to be in a cheap hotel room with a naked sixteen-year-old girl."

roesch-voltaire said...

Much of the article is based on Harold J. Spaeth's data base which serves for this kind of research and has been cited in other articles, which when using the coding, agree that the court is more conservative, but if you read far enough into the article you will find the statement: First the rightward shift is modest. Second, the data do not take popular attitudes into account." Given the balance of quotes, I think the article is far more balanced than folks give it credit for.

Joe said...

Hmm, was that Jooish Bondage or Joeish Bondage?

John Stodder said...

Those (decisions) favoring, say, prosecutors and employers

But what about when a prosecutor goes after an employer?

Is it a conservative result no matter what in that instance?

These are two unalike groups, unless you're, say, a 17-year-old and you look at both of them as "the man."

In the 60s, pro-prosecutor tended to mean pro-"law and order" and thus pro-conservative. But in the past 15-20 years, I see the prosecutors as neutral at best, and increasingly servants of the liberal mission, of statism.

But then, I'm a little distorted in my thinking. I consider the war on drugs to be a liberal project. And I don't look at the death penalty as "conservative" in any meaningful way. Atavistic, maybe. But atavism isn't a philosophy.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

Almost all judicial decisions can be assigned a molecular weight, too, provided you don't object to talking nonsense.

Excellent line.

TMink said...

"Liberalism is a mental disorder." - Michael Savage.

There you go, a Savage quote!


holdfast said...

Do you think a decision in favor of the prosecutor in a tax or securities prosecution, where the law in question is some piece of over-reaching, liberal-written crap is a "conservative" decision?

Meade said...

HDHouse house house house,

Thank you for supporting my opinion while missing my point. Still, I agree: Liptak draws conclusions based on trends analyzed from incomplete data weighed on a scale he invents out of, where, his own imagination?