Are Judges Partisan?


To the Editor:Re “As Supreme Court Tips Right, Chief Justice Steers to Center” (front page, Dec. 24):Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. may insist that “we don’t work as Democrats or Republicans” and occasionally vote to prove that point, as you report, but my analysis of 600 national security cases decided during the “war on terror” found that the party of the appointing president correlated significantly with whether the federal judge favored the government or the party asserting civil liberties claims.And the judges that President Trump has appointed share his politics even more strongly. As Mr. Dooley (the fictional bartender in a journalist’s columns) said a century ago, “the Supreme Court follows the election returns” — and so do the other federal courts.Richard L. AbelSanta Monica, Calif.The writer is professor emeritus at the U.C.L.A. School of Law and the author of “Law’s Trials.”