Monday, September 22, 2003

Fun with Statistics

Kevin Drum at Calpundit asks, "I keep hearing that the Ninth Circuit court is a "rogue" liberal court because it's constantly being overturned by the Supreme Court. So I'm curious: there must also be a circuit court that's the least overturned, right? So does that make it a rogue conservative court?"

I actually heard a report on this very subject on a local bay area news station this weekend. It would seem that the 9th is the largest circuit court and last year sent about 24 cases to the Supreme Court of which about 18 were in fact overturned. This indeed makes it the "most overturned court", as angered conservatives often declare. However other courts send between 4 and 8 cases a year to the supreme courts, and the average overturn rate is about the same as the 9th at 73%. In fact with 6 cases upheld last year, one can argue that the 9th circuit is the most upheld court in the country.

So perhaps one could posit that the 9th circuit is all things to all people and a good canditate for Kevin's rogue conservative court.

It's all how you look at it.

Note: The above statistics are from my memory of the report, and may be slightly off, but they definitely convey to spirit of the report and are well within the ballpark.

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