Review of "Dumbing Down the Courts" by Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection
“Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench” (2013) is the most recent of Dr. John Lott Jr.’s excellent books applying economics to better understand the societal dynamics around controversial issues. Gun owners will be most familiar with his past work on the defensive uses of force by lawfully armed citizens (“More Guns, Less Crime”).
In “Dumbing Down the Courts” Dr. Lott examines how political forces are increasingly driving the federal courts to be staffed by judges (and justices) who are less intellectually capable than their predecessors.
In short, his hypothesis — supported by data on more than 1,500 federal court nominees — is that the smarter, more respected (by their legal peers), and more academically talented a candidate for a federal court, the longer the confirmation process and the less likely confirmation will be successful.
Indeed, this reality has become so widely accepted on an anecdotal level that many of the most promising candidates for federal judgeships simply decline to accept even consideration for such an appointment. Dr. Lott uses rigorously analyzed data to move this discussion beyond mere anecdote. . . .
Labels: Dumbing Down the Courts