Searching for Justice Scalia: Measuring the 'Scalia-ness' of the Next Potential Member of the U.S. Supreme Court
21 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2016 Last revised: 15 Jun 2022
Date Written: January 27, 2017
The President promised on the campaign trail to replace Justice Scalia with a judge like Justice Scalia (and Justice Thomas). But what does it mean to be like Justice Scalia? It surely means more than just being "conservative." This study proposes three empirical measures of what made Justice Scalia Justice Scalia. First, how often does a judge promote or practice originalism? Second, how often do they cite to Justice Scalia's non-judicial writings, writings that were not about the substance of the law but about how to think about interpreting the law. And third, how often does a judge write separately, something Justice Scalia did 25.9% of the time when he was not writing the majority opinion over his last 20 years on the court. The study then applies those measures to potential nominees, and provides a metric for determining just how Scalia-like they are: The Scalia Index Score. While not without its limitations, this metric provides an objective way to evaluate how much a potential nominee is like the famous jurist they may replace.
Keywords: Supreme Court, Judicial Behavior, Scalia, Originaism
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