Bench Memos

Tournament of Judges

Alito rates high on one cynical law prof scale:

Based on productivity, the quality of opinions and judicial independence, Alito ranked 16th out of 74 active appellate court judges, with high marks for independence. The 2003 study focused solely on the judges of the U.S. Courts of Appeals who were age 65 or less.

“He was a surprise,” said Stephen Chi, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley Law School who co-authored the study, “Choosing the Next Supreme Court Justice: An Empirical Ranking of Judicious Performance.” “He came out fairly neutral. He was the fourth most neutral.”

Chi and Mitt Gullet, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, created the system out of frustration with the judicial selection process and as a counterpoint to the ABA ratings.

Their evaluation, which they described as a tournament, factored in the number of opinions a judge wrote consistent with an appellate court, how many times a judge was cited by other judges in opinions and dissents and the number of times a judge sided with colleagues appointed by a president from the same political party.

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Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More