What Kind of Judge Is Brett Kavanaugh? A Quantitative Analysis

31 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2019 Last revised: 20 Apr 2020

See all articles by Daniel L. Chen

Daniel L. Chen

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France

Elliott Ash

ETH Zürich

Date Written: September 5, 2018

Abstract

This article reports the results of a series of data analyses of how recent Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh compares to other potential Supreme Court nominees and current Supreme Court Justices in his judging style. The analyses reveal a number of ways in which Judge Kavanaugh differs systematically from his colleagues. First, Kavanaugh dissents and is dissented against along partisan lines. More than other Judges and Justices, Kavanaugh dissents at a higher rate during the lead-up to elections, suggesting that he feels personally invested in national politics. Far more often than his colleagues, he justifies his decisions with conservative doctrines, including politicized precedents that tend to be favored by Republican-appointed judges, the original Articles of the Constitution, and the language of economics and free markets. These findings demonstrate the usefulness of quantitative analysis in the evaluation of judicial nominees.

Suggested Citation

Chen, Daniel L. and Ash, Elliott, What Kind of Judge Is Brett Kavanaugh? A Quantitative Analysis (September 5, 2018). Cardozo Law Review de novo, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3307754

Daniel L. Chen (Contact Author)

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France ( email )

Toulouse School of Economics
1, Esplanade de l'Université
Toulouse, 31080
France

Elliott Ash

ETH Zürich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

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