Perhaps my favorite sentence from Knight Ridder’s sloppy hack job is the assertion that “Knight Ridder’s review of Alito’s record reveals decisions so consistent that it appears results do matter to him.” Consistent decisions? Can you believe it?
Good judging involves reasoned decisionmaking rooted in text and precedent and neutrally applied irrespective of the parties or interests to a particular case. In other words, consistent decisions should be a hallmark of a good judge, not an indictment.
Of course, it is far from clear that Knight Ridder’s supposedly thorough review of Alito’s cases actually involved much if any examination of his reasoning. Evidently the Knight Ridder reporters meant to assert that the results in Alito’s cases are unusually consistent. But if statistics ever could reveal a pattern that careful examination of legal reasoning wouldn’t—and I’m very doubtful of that proposition—the Knight Ridder piece doesn’t even make a serious effort in that direction.
For more, see this “Results-Oriented Journalism” post by Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice.