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  1. #1
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Default Ideological Makeup of the Supreme Court of the United States

    Below are some graphs I created depicting the Ideological and Qualification ratings of the US Supreme Court as an aggregate of the ratings of the individual members over time. Changes in presidential administration indicated by dotted vertical line.

    Source data updated and backdated by Jeffrey Segal from Jeffrey Segal and Albert Cover, “Ideological Values and the Votes of Supreme Court Justices,” American Political Science Review 83:557-565 (1989).





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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    What do the numerical values for ideology represent? The strength of the individual's political affiliation?

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    null Jonny's Avatar
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    From time to time Supreme Court Justices will write editorials for various publications, espousing or justifying support for a particular ideology. The authors of the paper developed a metric whereby the various observable political beliefs were ranked according to how liberal or conservative they were relative to the time they were published. This system was found to have a high (.8) correlation with a justice's propensity to vote with or against various ideological philosophies in practice. To give an example, Roe v. Wade was argued and decided in the early 70s with two in dissent with the majority, however, when the opinions of the court were taken during the latter part of the Bush administration four justices were firmly opposed to the decision. If you do a google search of the paper, you are sure to find a more detailed explanation of methods used within the study.
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    ************************************************** ********
    Bumping to start a conversation about the future of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), and talk about their expected rulings this Thursday.
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    As many of you are aware, this Thursday SCOTUS is scheduled to release their judgement on the legality of certain aspects of ObamaCare and the Arizona immigration law. Some might argue that these are some of the most politicized judgements in recent history, and one need only look at the Senate confirmation votes of the last 4 nominees relative to their predecessors to realize that the division is very real.

    Four of the nine members of SCOTUS are over 70 years old: liberal leaning Ginsburg (79) and Breyer (73), middle of the road Kennedy (75), and conservative leaning Scalia (76). Presumably, whoever is elected president in 2012 might nominate replacements for one or more of these members, significantly affecting the balace on the court.

    More to come. Thoughts?
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