The Age Effect

With a Supreme Court nominee most likely coming in the next day or so to fill Justice Scalia’s seat, there is much speculation on whether the choice will be Merrick Garland or Sri Srinivasan.  If age has a large effect (which is often the case if Presidents wish to preserve their legacies after they leave office, especially the candidates are equally qualified), then the advantage seems to go to Srinivasan over Garland.  The figure below depicts the average age when each Justice was nominated since the beginning of the Vinson Court.

NominationAge

The mean age is 53, just four years older than 49 year old Srinivasan but 10 years younger than the 63 year old Garland. So, if it comes down to age, Srinivasan seems like the likely pick.

Update: And with Garland the likely pick this seems to (a) show how far conventional wisdom will take you and (b) add to the complexity of Obama’s already difficult-to-gauge legacy.

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