David Souter

supreme court 2006.jpgYou may recall our recent Above the Law reader polls for Most Favorite Supreme Court Justice and Least Favorite Supreme Court Justice. The results of those polls are available here and here, respectively.
One of you had an interesting suggestion: Combine the results of the two polls to generate “net popularity scores” for the justices. These scores, combining measures of how much each justice is liked and disliked, could be viewed as measuring “overall” popularity.
We thought it would be interesting to see the results, so we went ahead and did this. We took the percentage of the vote each justice received in the “Most Favorite” poll, then subtracted from it the percentage of the vote received in the “Least Favorite” poll. We labeled the result the justice’s “Net Popularity Score” (NPS).
Here are the results of this number-crunching, with the justices ranked by NPS, from highest to lowest:
net popularity score 2.jpg
A few quick thoughts:
1. The rankings strike us as decent measures of overall popularity. Two of the top three finishers are favorites of their respective ideological wings. Justice Scalia, a cult figure among conservatives, comes in first; Justice Stevens, a hero of the liberals, places third.
2. The Chief is like Sara Lee: Nobody doesn’t like him. He got zero percent of the votes in the “Least Favorite” poll (just 24 votes out of 6,290). And, presumably due to his good looks and great resume — since he doesn’t have many opinions to be judged by yet — he won 16 percent of the “Most Favorite” vote. This gave him an NPS of 16, almost enough to beat Nino.
3. The next three justices — Justices Breyer, Thomas, and Alito — have net popularity scores close to zero. This makes sense too: as jurists, they don’t excite grand passion (even if Justice Thomas, prior to his confirmation, was a controversial figure).
4. Justice Alito, a fairly low-key personality, earns a “perfect” score of zero. Two percent of voters picked him as their favorite; two percent picked him as their least favorite. He’s like The Justice Who Wasn’t There (although, in fairness to Justice Alito, he’s too new to the bench to have made many enemies or fans).
5. Three justices have negative net popularity scores: Justices Kennedy, Souter, and Ginsburg. Their negative scores may have been affected by the fact that the voter pool in the “Least Favorite Justice” pool skewed to the right (thanks in large part to an Instapundit link).
6. As for why Justice Ginsburg attracted such a high percentage of the “least favorite” votes, Ann Althouse — and her commenters — have some interesting thoughts on the matter.
Earlier: ATL Poll Results: Your LEAST Favorite Supreme Court Justice
ATL Poll Results: Your Favorite Supreme Court Justice

After finding out your Favorite Supreme Court Justice (answer: Justice Scalia), we asked about your LEAST Favorite Supreme Court justice. And the result was surprising, at least to us.
Voter turnout was massive, with over 6,000 votes cast. Maybe everyone’s in a voting frame of mind, with Election Day so close. Here’s how you voted:
least favorite supreme court justice poll results.JPG
The “winner”: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with a whopping 40 percent of ballots cast. Second place went to Justice David H. Souter, with 19 percent of the vote.
Thank you to the voters — all 6,000 of you. And thanks to everyone who linked to the poll, especially Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse, and Jason Harrow (of SCOTUSblog).
We have a few cursory observations on these results, which appear after the jump.

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supreme court 2006.jpgNot much explanation required. This is just the flip-side of our recently concluded Favorite Supreme Court Justice poll (in which Justice Scalia easily prevailed).
Now we want to learn which of the Nine Robed Ones is your LEAST favorite jurist.
We’ll keep the polls open until we get at least 1,000 responses, so that the result can be viewed as a fairly reliable indicator of ATL reader sentiment. Here’s the poll:

Who is your LEAST favorite U.S. Supreme Court justice?
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
Justice John Paul Stevens
Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
Justice David H. Souter
Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com


Please cast your vote, and spread the word to others who might be interested. Thanks!
Earlier: ATL Poll Results: Your Favorite Supreme Court Justice

Last Friday, we asked you to vote for your Favorite Supreme Court Justice.
Over 1,300 votes were cast. Here are the results:
favorite supreme court justice poll results.JPG
Interesting! Thanks to everyone who participated in the poll. And thanks to SCOTUSblog and Professor Althouse for linking to the poll, which generated many votes.
Update: Vote for your LEAST favorite Supreme Court justice by clicking here.
Our random observations on the results, after the jump.

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This is NOT an official ATL contest. We won’t offer any commentary on the candidates, to keep the proceedings objective. This is simply a random Friday poll that we’re conducting for our own curiosity.
Readers of this site are generally interested in, and highly knowledgeable about, the United States Supreme Court. Many of you might be called “legal nerds” or “judicial groupies” (both of which we view as badges of honor).
So while we have you all here, we thought we’d ask:
supreme court 2006.jpg

Who is your favorite U.S. Supreme Court justice?
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
Justice John Paul Stevens
Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
Justice David H. Souter
Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com


We know that such online polls have been conducted previously. See, e.g., here. And we have seen articles in which legal experts are asked to name their favorite member of the SCOTUS. See, e.g., here.
But we haven’t seen such polls or articles for the Court as currently constituted, i.e., after the appointements of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. So we thought we’d run such a poll and see what results we get.
Please cast your vote, so this tally will be as accurate a representation of ATL reader opinion as possible. Thanks!

stephen breyer in track suit.JPGLately you haven’t been sending many legal celebrity sightings our way. C’mon, guys — we know you can do better. If you harbor doubt as to who constitutes a “legal celebrity” in our book, please review this post.

Due to your delinquency, we’ll have to resort to some rather hoary sightings. Here’s the first, inspired by our recent post about legal hotshots chowing down:

As for food sightings, I hear that Leonard Leo has his own wine locker at Morton’s. One day this past summer, he was there and Miguel Estrada was in the next booth.

For those of you outside the Beltway, Leonard Leo is Grand Poobah of the Federalist Society — ringmaster of the good Senatrix’s “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Miguel Estrada — aka “the kid from Teguicalpa” — is the brilliant Latino lawyer, and former nominee to the celestial D.C. Circuit, who is often talked about as a possible SCOTUS nominee (in a Republican administration).

And what do great legal minds do to work off all those calories? Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Judge Consuelo Callahan (9th Cir.), and Judge Kathleen Cardone (W.D. Tex.) are aerobics aficionados. And all three, coincidentally, used to teach it. Justice O’Connor led the female law clerks in aerobics at the Supreme Court; Judge Callahan was an instructor at Jack La Lanne Fitness in Stockton, California; and Judge Cardone led classes at EP Fitness in El Paso, Texas.

Meanwhile, Justice David Souter, feeder judges J. Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir.) and Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain (9th Cir.), and ex-Judge Michael Chertoff (3d Cir.) enjoy running. And they’re not the only ones:

An older sighting (March), but a good one. I was driving my car in Georgetown one Sunday morning behind a jogger (blue/black long spandex pants and windbreaker). He was trotting right down the middle of the street, leaving no opportunity to pass on either side.

We followed behind him for about 2 blocks, going an infuriating 4 mph. When he hits the end of the block, he turns and starts jogging the opposite way, and now he’s heading straight in our direction. It was unmistakably Justice Stephen Breyer.

We commend Justice Breyer for his fitness regimen (which may explain why he’s one of the more svelte of the justices). But please, Your Honor — show some consideration for the motorists.

(Yeah, we know — those brick sidewalks in Georgetown can be a real bitch. But remember the words of Nietzsche: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”)

port clyde.jpgWhen the Supreme Court isn’t in session, many of the justices — such as Justice Scalia and Justice Kennedy — traipse off to Europe. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts, showing his diligence, sticks around town (at least more than his colleagues). He was recently spotted at work on a Sunday.
When he does travel, look for him not in the Old Country, but in New England. Chief Justice Roberts recently acquired a house on a small island off Port Clyde, Maine (pictured). Tony Mauro has the details:

Roberts and his wife, Jane, paid $475,000 in June for a two-acre property and roughly 1,300-square-foot house on the island. The seller was Steve Thomas of “This Old House” TV fame.

The island is reachable by boat, and that has proved to be a bit of a problem for Roberts. In a brief interview on the subject of his new home, Roberts joked that he had trouble achieving the right ratio of gas to oil for his boat’s motor on a recent trip. The main reason for the miscalculation, he said with a laugh, was that when he asked around to be sure how many pints there are in a quart, most people told him four — instead of two, the correct answer.

It’s nice to know that we’re not the only folks who struggle with measurements. So does the brilliant Chief Justice!

[Roberts] no family connections in Maine. But Roberts said his family has vacationed in the area in two of the past four years and decided to take the plunge. Kevin Lipson, a partner at Roberts’ former law firm Hogan & Hartson, owns a house on the island and introduced him to the rustic retreat several years ago.

Town assessor’s agent James Murphy Jr. describes Roberts’ house as “pretty average,” a one-story structure built in 1965 but remodeled a few years ago. It also has an “outbuilding,” Murphy adds, but he is quick to assure that it is not an outhouse but a shed.

Sounds like a perfect place for clerks’ quarters, should JGR ever invite them out to his retreat.
While the island sounds lovely, we’re a little disappointed that the Chief’s pad is a “pretty average” house, built in the dreaded 1960′s, and worth under $500,000. We were expecting something a bit more grand.
We just hope it’s less decrepit than that other New England SCOTUS home: Justice Souter’s dump house.
Courtside by Tony Mauro: Paradise Island [Legal Times]

david souter.jpg* Another day, another deepening of the doo-doo over at HP. Now the plot is taking on a “made-for-television-movie” feel: “[D]etectives tried to plant software on at least one journalist’s computer that would enable messages to be traced.” [New York Times]
* National security adviser Stephen Hadley indicates that the White House is trying to reach a compromise with Republican Senators over what the CIA can and cannot do when interrogating terror suspects. [New York Times]
* A medical examiner hired by successful Supreme Court litigant Anna Nicole Smith performed a second autopsy on Smith’s 20-year-old son over the weekend. The cause of death has not yet been determined, but heart disease, stroke, or a “congenital anomaly” have been ruled out. [Associated Press]
* Options backdating defendant William Sorin was outside general counsel at Comverse Technology — a rather unusual arrangement. Sorin was awarded millions of dollars worth of stock options, even though he wasn’t even a salaried employee of the company. [Corporate Counsel]
* A happy 67th birthday to Justice David H. Souter. And some advice: Don’t eat that cupcake sent over by Ann Coulter, even if she did stick a cute little candle in it. [How Appealing]

It’s that time of the year again, kids: when the members of the Supreme Court release their financial disclosure forms. We now get to engage in a little bit of financial voyeurism, learning which justices have gold-plated gavels, and which ones must settle for plastic. Delicious!

Unfortunately, the information isn’t as comprehensive as it could be. Asset values are reported in ranges, not exact dollar amounts. Primary residences aren’t included. But we’ll take what we can get.
As was the case last year, Justice Ginsburg and Justice Souter top the list. Here are the asset ranges, justice by justice:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: $6,400,000-$28,000,000

David Souter: $5,600,000-$26,300,000

Stephen G. Breyer: $4,125,080-$15,440,000

John G. Roberts, Jr.: $2,235,063-$5,860,000

John Paul Stevens: $1,590,018-$3,480,000

Antonin Scalia: $700,019-$1,595,000

Samuel A. Alito, Jr.: $665,025-$1,740,000

Clarence Thomas: $150,006-$410,000

Anthony Kennedy: $65,005-$195,000

Additional commentary and links, after the jump.

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