May 05, 2006

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

In today's National Review Online, Byron York reports that a top Senate Republican leadership aide was recently touting the overall 87% confirmation rate for President Bush's judicial nominees. York suggest that this will make it harder to energize the Republican base about Democratic obstruction of nominees during the remainder of Bush's term. But that's true only if the leadership fails to remind the base that the 87% figure means little, because most of the nominations were for district courts, and those almost never stir up a fight. The most telling statistic is Republicans' batting average for the subset of judicial nominees that the Democrats and their allies on the Left decided to fight. There have been some glorious successes such as Judges William Pryor and Janice Rogers Brown, but for every Pryor and Brown there is a nominee that has dropped out or been waiting for years. In other words, the Republicans are batting about .500 for controversial nominees. That's a great number if you're a baseball player, but not so much for a party that's supposedly committed to an up or down vote on every judicial nominee.