January 09, 2006

Alito and Discrimination Plaintiffs

In her opening statement earlier this afternoon, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D - CA) stated that Judge Alto has “sided against the individual alleging discrimination in about three-quarters of the cases before [him].” Feinstein is apparently referring to the much-repeated claim in a Knight Ridder article that Alito “has written in at least 18 [employment] discrimination cases and has sided with plaintiffs four times." Putting aside the shallow and shoddy analysis in the Knight Ridder article (see my earlier thoughts), it is worth noting that federal appeals court judges side with employment discrimination plaintiffs in only 13 percent of cases. So the truth is that Judge Alito's record here is more pro-plaintiff than is typical. Thanks to Sen. John Cornyn (R – TX) for first noting this statistic, which is the result of a 2003 study by three law professors.

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