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Is This Serious Inquiry? (Again with the Alito Stuff)

January 13, 2006

From the Alito confirmation hearings yesterday, Senator Feinstein questions the Judge witnesses:

FEINSTEIN: Let me ask this question. How do you look at the evaluations that have been done, those evaluations that say, “Well, in the cases looked that he has judged,” whatever percent it was but let’s say it’s 70 percent, I’m just making it, in favor of corporations or business, or against the little man? How do you look at that sample and how do you regard that? It’s been written about rather extensively. [Emphasis added.]

Anyone that would like to try to answer it.

“I’m just making it?!” What in hell is Your Montag supposed to make of that? What ‘evaluation’ is the Senator referring to? Is she seriously just making up a statistic to discuss? Come on. You’re not blogging, Senator, you’re questioning witnesses before congress. You could should do better.

FEINSTEIN: [continued] Judge Becker?

ALDISERT: I would try that.

FEINSTEIN: Oh, all right. Give Judge Becker, because I’ve known him longer.

Aww. Cute! . . . [RETCH]

BECKER: Senator Feinstein, first of all, you have to keep in mind that — and I think this is a national — this statistic applies nationwide. I think somewhere between 80 and 85 percent of cases are affirmed. So a lot of this is going to determine who won in the district court or who won in the agency. So those numbers are skewed by that very fact.

[snip]

I’ve just never seen any evidence that he’s for the big guy against the little guy. But I think if you analyze these, I think you’d find most of the statistics come from the fact that the big guy won in the district court and 80 to 85 percent of those case are affirmed, and most of those would have been unanimous. [Emphasis added.]

OK so in the appeals court, most decisions are upheld, and this witness who is a judge in the court mentioned, and should know about such things, says he thinks “…you’d find most of the statistics come from the fact that the big guy won in the district court…”

OK. Since the Senator and her witness are making up, and/or speculating about statistics and studies, Your Game Montag will join in the fun. Wheeeee!

I have heard somewhere — and I apparently need not say where or give evidence (How liberating is that?) — that Judge Alito dissented from the majority decision more than any other judge on the circuit. I would like to knowof those cases — cases when the Judge got it wrong — cases where he dissented — what percent of the time has he ruled in favor of the “big guy against the little guy?” Huh? Huh?!

Goddamn, I should have been a Senator. Missed my calling there.

What about that Aldisert character, who was so gung-ho to answer the question? What’d he have to say?

ALDISERT: I was about to say the same thing, but my good friend Judge Becker, your figure was a little skewed there. [Emphasis added.]

ALDISERT: The percentage of reversals is not 15 percent; it’s 8.7 percent…

(LAUGHTER)

WTF?! That wasn’t even funny. But I’ll join in the fun with my own best impression of Jim Carey as Ace Ventura Pet Detective fake laugh. The one that’s always sure to draw the look of annoyance from Mrs. Montag.

Anywho, continuing:

… in the statistics of last year of all cases. In criminal cases, through in the figures of 2004, the reversal rate in criminal cases was 5.1 percent.

So apart from having actual numbers that he seemed to be citing from somewhere definitive, Judge Aldisert was going to “say the same thing” as his cohort. Is this an indication of the same type of coordinated message we see so often when talking points are issued? Dare I charge that these witnesses were “prepped” for their testimony? Or do the two judges merely employ the same thought process when answering questions about made up statistics?

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