May 28, 2009

Rachel Maddow uses a baseball analogy to debunk the talking points the media is using coming from a Washington Times article on Sonia Sotomayor's reversal rate. Media Matters has the breakdown as well.

Wash. Times, CQ uncritically report criticism that Sotomayor's Supreme Court reversal rate is "high" From the article:

In a May 27 article headlined "Sotomayor reversed 60% by high court," The Washington Times uncritically quoted Conservative Women for America president Wendy Wright saying that Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court reversals -- which the Times reported as three of five cases, or 60 percent -- were "high." Similarly, on May 26, Congressional Quarterly Today uncritically quoted (subscription required) Wendy Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network, claiming that Sotomayor "has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court." In fact, contrary to the claim that a reversal rate of 60 percent is "high," data compiled by SCOTUSblog since 2004 show that the Supreme Court has reversed more than 60 percent of the federal appeals court cases it considered each year.

The Times reported that "[t]hree of the five majority opinions written by Judge Sotomayor for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and reviewed by the Supreme Court were reversed, providing a potent line of attack raised by opponents." The article then quoted Wright's assertion that Sotomayor's "high reversal rate alone could be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record." But according to data compiled by SCOTUSblog, Sotomayor's reported 60 percent reversal rate is lower than the overall Supreme Court reversal rate for all lower court decisions from the 2004 term through the present -- both overall and for each individual Supreme Court term.

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