Statistics Without Sense

This house editorial in yesterday’s New York Times, titled “Courts Without Judges,” reflects the NYT editorial board’s usual one-sidedness and selective amnesia: Obama’s judicial nominees, we’re told, are “decidedly moderate.” That “was not always true of the Bush judicial choices that the Democrats felt compelled to filibuster.” (The poor Dems—forced to act against their nobler instincts.) “Neither party should be in the business of obstructing judicial nominees” (gee, why didn’t you say so during the Bush 43 presidency?) “unless they are unqualified or unacceptably extreme” (labels that NYT will fling against any conservative judicial nominees). And so on.

Two points about NYT’s statistics:

1. The editorial asserts near the top that “the most important cause” of 85 existing judicial vacancies is “the determination of Senate Republicans, for reasons of politics, ideology and spite, to confirm as few of President Obama’s judicial choices as possible.” Only in the second-to-last paragraph does the reader learn that “62 district and circuit court vacancies have no nominees.” It would seem that the most important cause of 62 of the 85 vacancies is that President Obama hasn’t made any nominations.

2. The editorial and accompanying graphic uses the odd measure of “[a]verage wait for nominees from committee approval to confirmation”—instead of the much more sensible benchmark of overall time from nomination to final Senate action—in order to give the false impression (see point 2 here) that Obama nominees are faring worse than Bush 43’s.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More