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Sotomayor - Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Sotomayor has been confirmed which is not a surprise to anyone. During the the senate approval hearings, it was frustrating to me to see time and time again, her being questioned on the "wise latina comment' and basically answering the same answer at varying degree of length.

Why don't they ask about her overturn rate? There has been numerous articles and commentary indicating that 60-80% of her decisions are overturned by the Supreme Court.. I mentioned this to a left leaning friend who replied that her overturn rate isn't that high and I was drinking the Right wing Kool Aid.

Eager to defend my position I hit the net and looked for backup. Sadly she was right. Sotomayor's real overturn rate is around 1.5 %. Not the 60-80 % which are frequently quoted.

The discrepancy arises from the number of cases which were actually brought to the supreme court for review. Which total 5 of 232 decisions or about 2%. Of that 2% of cases 3 of 5 were overturned and one was a close call where the justices faulted her reasoning but still upheld her decision (Knight vs IRS). Which yields 60% (or 80% if you count the upheld but we didn't like your reasoning as a fail). Is this a high overturn rate? Considering that so far this year the court has overturned 15 of the 16 cases it has heard I do not think so.

Her politics are not my own, but she has been done a disservice by many in the media and blogosphere.