Political ideology is becoming a problem in the U.S. courtrooms. Political ideology is the way a person thinks the government should be run, and it can pose a problem in the courtroom. Judges are appointed every time a new president comes into office. Democrats appoint some of them, and Republicans appoint others. The thesis of the article is the question of how much ideology—the ideas specific parties have—matters once the judges have been appointed, and it seems to matter quite a lot.
For example, when a woman complains she has been discriminated against because of her gender, she will win seventy-five percent of the time when her case is brought before a panel of three Democrats. However, with one Republican, her chances drop to forty-nine percent, and when she is faced with two Republicans she wins only thirty-eight percent of the time. Using a different example, when a company claims an environmental regulation is unlawful, three Democrats will rule in their favor about twenty-five percent of the time. Their chances triple before three Republicans. In summary, Republicans are more conservative in their voting and Democrats are more liberal, though they drift towards the other end of the spectrum when seated with the other party.
The findings, according to David A. Schkade and Cass R. Sunstein, the authors of the article, explain why George W. Bush and the Democratic senators are constantly battling with one another. It is important because it shows how the judges will vote. It also is important because of the effect on the judge’s colleagues. The fight over nominations is therefore not about politics, but about how the law will be shaped in the future.