Who are the activists on the Supreme Court? Which justices show the most partisan voting patterns? Such questions are usually answered anecdotally. Thomas Miles and I have tried to approach them more systematically, with some simple statistical methods. We have compiled and analyzed a large number of the justices' votes over an extensive period, and we now have some answers, in the form of awards for Judicial Neutrality and Judicial Restraint -- and less desirable awards for Partisan Voting and Judicial Activism.
Those answers are scheduled to appear in an oped in the Los Angeles Times this Monday. (Guesses are welcome.) A small preview: One member of the current Court has the honor of finishing second for both Judicial Neutrality and Judicial Restraint. That is, one member of the Court upholds conservative decisions (from federal agencies) and liberal decisions (ditto) at about the same rate, and thus fails to show a partisan tilt -- while also showing a high level of restraint, defined for purposes of analysis as a high level of willingness to uphold the decisions of a coordinate branch of government (the executive branch, where we have a lot of data).
The member of the Court who finishes second for both neutrality and restraint is: Justice David Souter.