Understanding Sotomayor’s Reversal Rate

The Washington Times seems to have serious problems doing simple math.  Just last month, they published a editorial claiming that President Obama was the “second-least-popular president in 40 years” when, in fact, the very poll it cited showed that Obama’s standing was “well above the historical norm for all approval ratings.”

And now we get this equally inane claim from the Times today:

With Judge Sonia Sotomayor already facing questions over her 60 percent reversal rate, the Supreme Court could dump another problem into her lap next month if, as many legal analysts predict, the court overturns one of her rulings upholding a race-based employment decision.

Three of the five majority opinions written by Judge Sotomayor for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and reviewed by the Supreme Court were reversed, providing a potent line of attack raised by opponents Tuesday after President Obama announced he will nominate the 54-year-old Hispanic woman to the high court.

“Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senates duty to do so,” said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

So the Supreme Court granted review in a total of five cases where she authored the majority opinion and reversed the decision in three of them, giving her a 60 percent reversal rate … which is actually quite good considering that, in recent years, the Supreme Court has reversed more than 70% of all the cases it has heard.

But more importantly, as the article points out, Sotomayor wrote 380 majority decisions in her 11 years on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, the vast majority of which didn’t get reversed by the Supreme Court. In fact, only five even ended up there and thus her three reversals out of 380 decisions gives her a reversal rate of exactly 0.00789473684.

The only “problem” for Sotomayor here is the Times’ pathetic lack of math skills.