Lincoln and Ethics
SCOTUSblog on the same-sex marriage issue

More on judges, politics, and ideology

Mark D. White

Adam Liptak has a "Sidebar" in today's New York Times titled "'Politicians in Robes? Not Exactly, but..." discussing judges' voting records and the politics of the president who nominated them, citing data that finds a clear link and accusing judges of deciding cases based on "ideology." My comment is below:

Of course judges are ideological, but this does not necessarily translate into naked politics. Each judge has his or her own style of jurisprudence that may appeal more to presidents of one party or the other. A president will nominate judges with judicial philosophies that support his (or, someday, her) policy agenda. From the point of the view of presidents, judges and their judicial philosophies are tools, but to the judges, they are acting on principle. There is little ground for reading a judge's record as political rather then principled simply because his or her decisions are often in favor of the party of the president who nominated him or her.

I have more to say on this theme in this earlier post (written before the Supreme Court decided the Obamacare case, obviously).


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