Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Imaging the court

Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn have put together an awesome visualization of the shifting ideologies of Supreme Court justices. I'll buy the directional shifts of individual justices, but Gelman is right that the overall chamber scores just don't make much sense. No way is the current court more liberal than the one that ruled on Roe v. Wade.

Correction: The data above come from Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn. The visualization was assembled by Carl Roose and Alex Lundry. Apologies for the error.


Alex Lundry said...

Seth - Thanks for linking to and for the feedback...a few things:

1) Just wanted to clarify that Martin & Quinn are responsible for the data, but they did not do the visualization. It was done by myself and my partner Carl Roose. See the credits at the bottom of the website for the details.

2) I can see why you are confused about the numbers - I would point out that the location of the median justice actually denotes the ideological score of the justice most likely to be the deciding vote. So, comparing the 1972 term to the 2007 term, the justice most likely to be decisive is more liberal in 2007 (0.14) than 1972 (1.03), but you'll note the overall average of each justice's ideology scores is actually more conservative in 2007 (0.43) than it is in 1972 (0.14).

Again, thanks for the link and I look forward to any other feedback you have!

Seth said...

Thanks for the correction, Alex. I've noted it above. And really nice work on this.