Adam Feldman c has posted Scaling Judge Gorsuch’s Opinions: Hints of a Possible Centrist on Empirical SCOTUS. Here is a taste:
Scholars Benoit, Laver, and Lowe developed an approach called Wordscores where opinions can be placed along an ideological spectrum based on certain parameters. Using this software tool I located five of Judge Gorsuch’s more liberal written decisions and five of his most conservative decisions according to the opinions’ wordings. While there is no unequivocally objective way to measure political preferences, Wordscores creates the dimensions based on content analysis of the opinions. The user begins by inputting base texts to define the ends of the ideological spectrum. An example is that Bowers v. Hardwick helped to define the right boundary of the spectrum while Lawrence v. Texas helped define the left boundary for this analysis.
With this spectrum I plugged in over 180 of Judge Gorsuch’s majority opinions, dissents, and concurrences to locate those at either end. To reiterate, the focus here is the opinion language and not the ultimate outcome of any decision. The political issues in each case should not factor into whether an opinion is considered more liberal or conservative. Furthermore, the results are only exploratory as the software itself does not inherently distinguish between conservative and liberal language, it only creates this scale based on the input documents that are used to develop this scale.