The dumbing down of America's judges

"Think that attending a top university and graduating at the top of the class is the key to your success? Not if you’re headed for a federal judgeship. In fact, today the most accomplished candidates for the bench are the most likely to be rejected. And this phenomenon has only gotten worse with the quality of America’s judges in marked decline."

"The evidence of so-called dumbing down is striking: Tracking federal judge appointments over the past four decades, I found that graduates of one of U.S. News and World Report’s top 10 law schools who also served on their school’s law review had a 30 percent lower confirmation rate than their peers who neither went to top law schools nor did particularly well. Looking at all the nominations from the Jimmy Carter through George W. Bush administrations, I also found that confirmation took about 65 percent longer for the first group — and 158 percent longer for students at top law schools who distinguished themselves further by getting clerkships on circuit courts and then the Supreme Court. On top of that, a federal judge whose opinions were cited 20 percent more often than their peers faced roughly a 60 percent longer confirmation process."

The dumbing down of USA voters, and of Supreme Court Judges, bodes ill for the consequences of their decisions. If voters were informed and had the ability to make decisions based on facts rather than ideology, would our country be stronger? I place the responsibility of the dumbing down of USA on voters.

The dumbing down of America's judges

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oh wow - I am saddened to hear this - things aren't going too well for us

And how will voters be informed? The TV? From the patterns in American TV programmes I can see that the attention curve of the viewer is set on about a minute with a lead-up of five minutes. After that a block of commercials or some other stupid distraction. How can  voters be informed that way? Who will inform them and how biassed are the informers? Here the same patterns are emerging; the media invite us to jump into a whirlpool of non-information - shows, dresses, songs, colours, quizzes - time to look at the important questions and what politicians do about them is often wasted on unimportant details. I place the responsibility of the dumbing of the Netherlands on the voters, the media and the politicians.

Chris, I gave my TV away a couple of years ago. While visiting my daughter last weekend, I watched their TV with it's hundreds of stations and could not find one program that drew my interest. How I longed for my computer and thousands of documentaries and programs that interest me. Next time I go to Laura's, I will take my laptop. 

TV = weapon of mass distraction. 

TV = weapon of mass distraction.

I love that definition, Joan! I still have a TV, but use it for less than half an hour a day. Better info on internet!

No wonder our courts are doing such a bad job.

I wonder if objections to more accomplished candidates came disproportionately from one political party... or if it's more a matter of more publications and citations providing more ammunition for rejection, across the board?

Grinning Cat, I suspect it's a bit of both.  And, another factor, or least a facet of one factor, thrown in. All Article III federal judges - from the trial court to the US Supreme Court - are appointed by the President and confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate. No President alive can know every federal judge nominee, for every district of every State in the Union. So, where do they come from? The overwhelming majority are from members of the House and Senate.  And, it is not all uncommon for them to be the lawyers who campaigned for the party in power in the White House. And, who have political connections with their Senators and Congressmen. I once knew a woman, a law professor (which, by the way, doesn't automatically equate to highly intelligent, either - but in her case it did), who was seriously considered as a candidate.  However, the appointment went to a very wealthy attorney who had sunk a whole lot of $$$ in Bill Clinton's campaign.  He turned out alright, but the better candidate still teaches. Now, couple that with political opposition, and publications where your opinion on issues is known to the opposing side.




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