How conservative is SCOTUS? Pretty damn conservative.

Federal court of appeals judge and law professor Richard Posner has done a ton of collaborative writing over the years with fellow University of Chicago lawprof William Landes. Now Posner and Landes have turned their considerable analytical talents to assessing the political ideologies of U.S. Supreme Court Justices from 1937 to date.

Of the ten most conservative Justices by voting record over that time, five (Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy) are on the Court today. By contrast, the ten Justices who Posner and Landes identify as the “least conservative” are all long gone. [CORRECTION: A commenter pointed out that current Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made the Posner/Landes “least conservative” top 10.]

Posner’s and Landes’ paper — Rational Judicial Behavior: A Statistical Study — is available for download here courtesy of SSRN.

H/T – Wash Park Prophet

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  • ohwilleke  On May 19, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Ginsburg, in the most liberal ten, is alive and well the last time I heard.

  • genghishitler  On May 19, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for the correction, Mr. Oh-Willeke. I must have blown right past Ginsburg’s name on accounta she’s just a lady. 😀

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