Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench, by John R. Lott Jr. (Bascom Hill, 227 pp., $17.95)
It’s been over a quarter-century since Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court became a defining moment in the confirmation of federal judges. Since the distinguished judge and former Yale Law professor was “borked” by demagogic personal attacks and blocked from the Court, confirmation battles have grown uglier and more protracted.
John Lott, an economist who has written thought-provoking books on everything from gun control to the federal budget, says the pitched battles over court nominations are having real-world consequences. He argues that our federal courts are being intellectually degraded as politicians in both parties try to keep the brightest and most articulate lawyers from becoming judges.