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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Louisiana SCT Judges: not so biased after all...?

Maybe four or five you will remember this, but back in January, I blogged briefly about Adam Liptak's NYT column about a study of potential bias among judges in the Louisiana Supreme Court. That study apparently has flies on it. Here's the press release I received yesterday and the relevant excerpts are after the jump. Given the proximity between the La. SCT and Tulane (the publication was in Tulane LR by Tulane faculty), one can imagine that this might have caused some "interesting" conversations among alums and other stakeholders in the school's community. Having read Dean Ponoroff's apology, I think he did the best he could do under the circumstances. Anyone disagree?

;Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero Jr., announced today that the Court has received a letter from Tulane Law School Dean, Lawrence Ponoroff, apologizing for the numerous errors contained in the article, The Louisiana Supreme Court in Question: An Empirical and Statistical Study of the Effects of Campaign Money on the Judicial Function, which the Tulane Law Review recently published. Writing on behalf of the Tulane Law School and the Tulane Law Review, the Dean acknowledged that these errors called into question the “reliability of some or all of the authors’ conclusions in the study as published...” The Dean expressed “sincere regret” to the Court and to its individual Justices “for the errors...in the study written by Professors Vernon Palmer and John Levendis,” and he also expressed disappointment that the article’s authors failed to discover their errors until after the Tulane Law Review had published the article. Chief Justice Calogero, by letter to Dean Ponoroff, accepted the Dean’s apology.

In addition to the apology letter, the Tulane Law Review has also posted an Erratum, a written acknowledgment of error and statement of correction, on its website. This same Erratum will be sent in hard copy to all Tulane Law Review subscribers with the next issue of the law review.

On behalf of the Court, Chief Justice Calogero noted it is appropriate that Tulane Law School and the Tulane Law Review have taken these significant steps to acknowledge the substantial errors and attempt to repair the harm the flawed and untrustworthy article caused to the Court as an institution, the state judiciary, and the state of Louisiana.

Calogero further stated, ”The Dean’s letter confirms our belief that this purported ‘scientific’ study was fatally flawed. In addition to containing multiple errors in the underlying data, especially the many mistakes regarding monetary contributions to their campaign committees and votes attributed to the Justices, this much-publicized article used a faulty methodology and analysis which has been severely criticized by several eminent scholars, all which rendered the authors’ conclusions unreliable and invalid.”

Posted by Administrators on September 16, 2008 at 09:48 AM in Law and Politics | Permalink


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