What is to be gained by using empirical evidence to rank or "judge" judges? Such empirical studies claim two major benefits. First, because the criteria are ostensibly apolitical, the resulting rankings should identify the "best" judges across the political spectrum and thereby improve, for instance, the Supreme Court nomination process. Second, because the criteria are "objective" rather than "subjective," the possibility of unconscious bias is reduced greatly and these studies may at last yield answers to two difficult questions: (1) whether female judges are better than male judges; and (2) whether appointed judges are better than their elected counterparts. These claims in turn rest on two assumptions: that the legal empiricists have selected the right qualities to measure and that their methodology for doing so is accurate.
Levy, Marin K.; Stith, Kate; and Cabranes, Jose A.
"The Costs of Judging Judges by the Numbers,"
Yale Law & Policy Review: Vol. 28
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylpr/vol28/iss2/3