Why politics matters with judges...
In discussing judges one is frequently told that political views are different from judicial views, that political philosophy is often different from judicial philosophy.
As an abstract point, this might be correct. But in practice, there is very good reason to believe that most judicial reasoning is little more than a legal rationalization of political prejudice.
There is now a fascinating support for this proposition posted over at the Volokh Conspiracy. A new article by Ward Farnsworth. Farnsworth looks at Supreme Court cases over the last 50 years and finds that the correlation between political ideology and decision-making runs about 95%.
Finally, there is a book-length study on this very point from Cambridge University Press: The Supreme Court and the Attitudinal Model Revisited, rightly arguing the depressing propostion that most judicial decision making is simply political policy-making under another name.