Who Judges the Judges?

March 5th, 2013

Apparently PolitiFact assesses the veracity of statements made by the United States Supreme Court!

PolitiFact rated as “half true” Chief Justice Roberts’s claim about voting rights in Massachusetts and Mississippi.

Roberts said, “Do you know which state has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African-American voter turnout? Massachusetts. Do you know what has the best, where African-American turnout actually exceeds white turnout? Mississippi.”

For several reasons — including unacceptably wide margins of error, strange year-to-year inconsistencies and problematic coding policies — the survey data Roberts likely used to back up his point on Massachusetts is questionable. And even if this data source had been reliable for his purposes, Roberts’ decision to hold up Massachusetts as his primary example amounts to cherry picking, since its data diverges significantly from that of its regional neighbors.

However, Roberts makes a valid point when he notes that black voter turnout in Mississippi and other deep south states is high, and indeed often exceeds white turnout. So while Roberts is on shaky ground with Massachusetts, he’s on more solid turf when it comes to Mississippi. On balance, we’ll call it Half True.

So does this mean Nina Totenberg’s post is also half-right?

H/T Election Blog