Rosen misrepresented Republican poll; falsely claimed public opposes judicial filibusters


Writing in The New York Times' "Week in Review," George Washington University law professor Jeffrey Rosen misrepresented an already misleading Republican poll to argue that the public "supports the principle of a filibuster, but not how it is practiced" by Democrats who have blocked a handful of President Bush's judicial nominees. As evidence for this suggestion, Rosen claimed falsely that a "recent Republican National Committee poll" showed that "80 percent of respondents said that each judicial nominee should get an up-or-down vote."

In fact, the poll to which Rosen apparently referred asked only about hypothetical "well-qualified" judicial nominees -- not any nominee. But only three of the ten nominees that Democrats have filibustered received unanimous well-qualified ratings by the American Bar Association.

As noted here and here, Ayres, McHenry & Associates, which conducted the Republican poll to which Rosen referred, has a history of posing misleading and loaded questions to gain favorable results. Additionally, other public polling casts doubt on those results. A Washington Post poll that Rosen cited as evidence of broad support for the filibuster also provides evidence of support for current efforts to block certain Bush nominations. By a margin of 48 percent to 36 percent, respondents said they thought Senate Democrats were "right" to "block these [10] nominations." Other independent polling also shows support for the right of senators to filibuster judicial nominees.

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