The Locker Room

Is Sotomayor's reversal rate a big deal?

Posted by David N. Bass at 12:17 PM

Some pundits have gotten their collective feathers ruffled over Sonia Sotomayor's reversal rate by the U.S. Supreme Court.

As discussed by the National Law Journal, out of 232 written opinions as a judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Sotomayor has been reviewed by the Supremes five times. She was reversed three times out of those cases, and the top court upheld her ruling but rejected her reasoning on a fourth case. So, it could be argued that she misapplied the law four out of five times in cases review by the Supremes.

In my view, the reversal rate, in and of itself, is no reason for criticism. As the National Law Journal article points out, Alito had a 100 percent reversal rate when Bush nominated him in 2005. Getting reversed by the Supremes isn't the point -- the content of the cases is what matters. The Supreme Court has the last say, but that doesn't mean they can't and don't err, one recent example being the Kelo decision.

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