In Searching for Justice Scalia: Measuring the "Scalia-Ness" of the Next Potential Member of the U.S. Supreme Court, Jeremy Kidd (Mercer) et al. took then-candidate Trump's promise to "appoint judges [and Justices] very much in the Justice Scalia mold," and assessed this promise against most (15/21) of those on President-Elect Trump's public "short-lists" of potential SCOTUS nominees. More specifically, the paper sets out to distill "Scalia-ness" into three vectors, develop a "Scalia Index Score," and apply the "Scalia Index Score" to 15 of Trump's possible SCOTUS nominees. While the paper, as the authors correctly note, is "not without its limitations," it nonetheless provides a glimpse into what a Trump Court might look like, at least as implied by Trump's own public statements. Obviously, the paper's analytic frame is not limited to the SCOTUS. The abstract follows.
"The President-elect promised on the campaign trail to replace Justice Scalia with a judge like Justice Scalia (and Justice Thomas). But what does it mean to be like Justice Scalia? It surely means more than just being "conservative." This study proposes three empirical measures of what made Justice Scalia Justice Scalia. First, how often does a judge promote or practice originalism? Second, how often do they cite to Justice Scalia's non-judicial writings, writings that were not about the substance of the law but about how to think about interpreting the law. And third, how often does a judge write separately, something Justice Scalia did 25.9% of the time when he was not writing the majority opinion over his last 20 years on the court. The study then applies those measures to potential nominees, and provides a metric for determining just how Scalia-like they are: the Scalia Index Score. While not without its limitations, this metric provides an objective way to evaluate how much a potential nominee is like the famous jurist they may replace."