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The LEO Test: Cause For Concern Over Roberts?


Jonathon York has developed a fascinating test to judge where their political leanings lie. He calls it the LEO Test, which stands for Liberty, Equality and Order. I’ve blogged about York’s tests of Hillary v. Santorum and Andrew Sullivan‘s “conservatism” before.

Now he puts John Roberts to the test, and the initial findings trouble York.

Suffice it to say, these first scores were disturbing for a variety of reasons. First of all, if they are valid scores, then the Ramaprakash [v. FAA (2003)] decision indicates that Roberts holds fast to an extreme establishmentarian position far beyond that of other test subjects such as Rick Santorum or even Michael Peroutka. However, Roberts own testimony at his confirmation hearing for the DC Circuit Court suggests a level of restraint inconsistent with these scores (see especially p. 80).

However, York doesn’t put the blame on Roberts just yet.

This inconsistency suggests that some portion of the LEO test as it was applied to the Ramaprakash case and perhaps to judicial cases in general, is either incomplete, inaccurate or invalid.

So what’s the solution?

What, then, explains this peculiar result? Mark suggested a possible explanation–that the legal nature of judicial decisions of necessity incorporates establishmentarian language, for individual disputes are brought before the bench to be resolved in terms of the application of existing law. This hypothesis is not only reasonable, it can be tested, and my thanks go out to Jeremy Jose of Melbourne University‘s Political Interest Society for suggesting the means to do so.

If the legal nature of judicial decisions distorts the results of a direct LEO test in favor of Order, then one can reasonably expect most court opinions to have similar results. Following Jeremy’s suggestion, I tested this hypothesis by “running the test on some notoriously liberal opinions”: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka KS (1954), Miranda v. Arizona (1966), and the controversial Roe v. Wade (1973). The hypothesis predicts a high percentage of “Order” references for each of these cases.

What’s the result? Find out at The LEO Test, and be sure to tell them Donklephant sent you.