New submitter Pierre Bezukhov writes "Researchers Roger Guimera and Marta Sales-Pardo of Spain set out to ask whether one of the nine Supreme Court justices could be plucked from the bench and replaced with an algorithm that does not take into account the law or the case at issue, but does take into account the other justices' votes and the court's record. These researchers say their computational models, using methods developed to analyze complex social networks, are just as accurate in predicting a justice's decision as forecasts from legal experts. 'We find that Supreme Court justices are significantly more predictable than one would expect from "ideally independent" justices in "ideal courts,"' that is, free agents independently evaluating cases on their merits, free of ideology, the study said."
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