Does Your Third Circuit Judge Vote as a “Conservative, Moderate, or Liberal”?

March 18, 2015Articles White Collar Defense & Compliance Blog

Matthew Stiegler, a Philadelphia attorney, has a terrific blog dedicated to reporting on, and thoughtfully analyzing, developments in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, called the CA3blog. Matthew has written a March 17th post concerning voting patterns among Third Circuit judges, which I commend to any practitioner interested in divining the ideological bent of their panel members. Called “A closer look at the Third Circuit’s recent en banc cases,” the post closely analyzes the Court’s votes in 18 en banc cases over the last five years in an effort to assign the designations “liberal,” “moderate,” and “conservative” to each of the judges voting in those cases (more recently-appointed judges are excluded).

Although one could disagree with how the “liberal” and “conservative” appellations are assigned — after all, a “liberal” on criminal justice matters might well behave as a “conservative” or “moderate” in commercial litigation cases — Matthew’s conclusions are provocative. I won’t give anything away here, but they are well worth the time invested in reading his CA3blog