Ballotpedia study: population distribution mirrors state supreme court partisanship 

Ballotpedia recently published a new study on state supreme courts entitled “Ballotpedia Courts: State Partisanship”. Among the findings, the study revealed trends in the distribution of the population across the country that closely tracked with the breakdown of partisan control over state supreme courts.

The correlation between population distribution and court partisanship was closest among states with supreme courts where a majority of the justices are affiliated with the Republican party. On 27 (54%) state supreme courts, justices with Republican Confidence Scores (our level of confidence in partisan affiliation) make up a majority on the state supreme court. There are 178 (52.2%) justices with Republican Confidence Scores in the country. Of the U.S. population, 57.7% of citizens live in states with a Republican Court Balance Score, and 51.1% of citizens live in a state which has a majority of justices with Republican Confidence Scores on the court.

The correlation between population distribution and court partisanship was less close among states with supreme courts where a majority of the justices are affiliated with the Democratic party. On 15 (30%) state supreme courts, justices with Democratic Confidence Scores make up a majority of the justices. There are 114 justices with Democratic Confidence Scores (33.4%) in the country. Of the U.S. population, 42.3% of citizens live in states which have a court with a Democrat Court Balance Score, and 39.9% live in a state which has a majority of justices with Democratic Confidence Scores on the court.

Most people in the United States live in a state with a partisan majority on the supreme court. However, there were eight courts (16%) where there were neither justices with Democratic Confidence Scores nor justices with Republican Confidence Scores occupying a majority of the court. Forty-nine justices (14.4%) recorded an Indeterminate Confidence Score (where the justice did not have a clear tie to either party), and 9% of citizens live in a state with a split court, or a court with a majority of justices with indeterminate partisan leanings.

Additional Reading:




About the author

Luke Seeley

Luke Seeley is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Bitnami