Why Speculate, When You Can Look It Up?

Commenter bdog, commenting on one of the posts on the badly done study of the Louisiana Supreme Court, writes:

Why is is it that no one has bothered to remark on the policitcal affiliations of the Judges? Without reading either the article or the rebuttal, I would bet that the accused judges are probably considered 'conservative', if not actual members of the republican party.

My reasoning? Simple logic and statistics: Professors are democrat 10-1. Law students, especially those on the Law Review are probably democrat by 30-1.(And personally, I would also bet money that on most Law Reviews, republicans/conservatives aren't represented at all.) And of course, the lack of attention to detail, like fact checking, faulty statistical analysis (can anyone say global warming), are just part and parcel of what is accepted as scholarship and scientific concensus, as long as it advances the 'correct' agenda.

The editors reviewed the article and it was just too good to check. If I ever need a lawyer, and I have in the past, I'll just make sure that it isn't one from Tulane.

And of course, law professors wouldn't write an article like this about democrat judges. It. Just. Does. Not. Happen.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Well, one can certainly speculate based on generalized assumptions about students' political orientations. Or one can look things up, for instance in Judgepedia (you'd find it quickly just by searching search for, for instance, Pascal Calogero Democrat Republican).

Looking up will reveal that the three justices as to whom the study purported to show influence from contributions -- Pascal Calogero, Catherine Kimball, and John Weimer -- are Democrats. (I've also confirmed this through non-open-source sources. Please note the "purported to show"; my point in these posts is that the study is badly flawed, and does not adequately demonstrate its claims of causation.) Of the remaining four justices, for whom the study didn't purport to show such influence, two were Republicans (Chet Traylor and Jeffrey Victory) and two were Democrats, Bernette Johnson and Jeannette Theriot Knoll.

So a law professor did cowrite an article like this about Democratic judges. It. Just. Did. Happen.

A broader point: It may well be true that as a general matter, more law review editors in the country are Democrats or lean Democratic than are Republicans or lean Republican, and that may in particular be true as to Tulane -- or it might not be; that's all sheer speculation. And it surely is the case that even fair-minded Democrats are more likely to assume the worst about Republicans and cut slack to Democrats, just as even fair-minded Republicans are more likely to assume the worst about Democrats and cut slack to Republicans. That's human nature.

But it's dangerous to speculate from such general tendencies to the facts in any particular case. And it's pretty pointless to do so, when the actual facts are pretty easily available.