Keeping Score: The Utility of Empirical Measurements in Judicial Selection

37 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2004

See all articles by David Vladeck

David Vladeck

Georgetown University Law Center


This paper is a response to the article authored by Professors Stephen Choi and Mitu Gulati entitled "A Tournament of Judges?", proposing that the judicial selection process for Supreme Court nominees focus on empirical measures of judicial quality. The paper first acknowledges that the judicial appointment process has become so politically polarized that vacancies go unfilled for extended period of time, delaying the administration of justice and leading to the disintegration of collegiality on a number of courts of appeals. The paper then agrees that empirical measurements may shed light on judicial qualifications and provides a number of illustrations where empirical measures do tell us a great deal about a nominee's qualifications for high judicial office. The paper then turns to the measurements identified by Choi and Gulati and explains why they are flawed in many respects. The paper concludes by encouraging further discourse on empirical measurements because the alternative, perpetual partisan bickering, is simply unacceptable.

Keywords: Judicial selection, empirical measurements, judicial nominations

JEL Classification: K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Vladeck, David, Keeping Score: The Utility of Empirical Measurements in Judicial Selection. Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 32, 2005. Available at SSRN:

David Vladeck (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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