Mercer Law Professor’s Study Measuring ‘Scalia-Ness’ of Potential Supreme Court Nominees Makes Major Headlines


During the fall of 2016, Mercer Law Professor Jeremy Kidd co-authored a study to measure the “Scalia-ness” of 21 judges identified as potential nominees by President Donald Trump to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In this study, Kidd and his co-authors identified three different variables that could be measured on a scale of “Scalia-ness,” including adherence to the doctrine of originalism, citations to Scalia's non-judicial writings and how often a candidate was willing to dissent or write separately from his or her colleagues on whatever court he or she sat, for which Scalia was well known.

The study correctly identified federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch as a top candidate based on the “Scalia-ness” index.

“The study is one of the first of its kind, adding empirical data to a process that has historically been far more likely to be subject to general, ideological impressions,” said Professor Kidd. We are hopeful that the positive attention the study received will mean that future nominations will be more data-driven.”

Soon after November's general election, the study was cited by the Huffington Post and the ABA Journal.

Following Trump's inauguration and leading up to the president's announcement of Gorsuch as his nominee, Kidd was interviewed by Fox News and quoted in The Washington Post, Forbes, and USA Today, among many other mainstream media outlets.

About Jeremy Kidd

Jeremy Kidd graduated in 2007 with honors from George Mason University School of Law, where he was executive editor for the Journal of Law, Economics & Policy. He holds a B.A. in economics and political science and a Ph.D. in economics from Utah State University.

After law school, he practiced as a real estate associate with Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll in Washington, D.C., and later as a litigation associate with Strong & Hanni in Salt Lake City, Utah. He clerked for the Hon. Ted Stewart on the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah and the Hon. Alice Batchelder, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Kidd is a law and economics scholar, with  primary teaching interests in the areas of   business and commercial law. He was a visiting assistant professor at George Mason University School of Law and has taught courses in business law and economics at Utah State University and Weber State University.