Psychohistory

     Clearly someone has never read the Foundation books by Isaac Asimov.
     That was my immediate reaction to the announcement last week from Bloomberg Law that it can predict the future.
     OK, Bloomberg didn’t exactly say it could predict the future, but it did claim that by using its “vast databases” it could help you decide on litigation strategies.
     Maybe so, but that sort of thing only works if no one else knows you’re using it. (See the Foundation series. Hari Seldon would never reveal this kind of tool publicly.) If both sides have the same information, who gets the advantage?
     And what if there’s a Mule?
     (Yeah, I know most of you will have no idea what I’m talking about, but you really should read some Asimov — if for no other reason than to prepare for the coming era of robot justice.)
     The Bloomberg press release begins with this: “Imagine if attorneys could counsel their clients on how long judges typically take to resolve cases, how they rule on dispositive motions, and how often they are overturned on appeal.”
     Go ahead — imagine it.
     Apparently litigation is fungible. No matter what your case is about, it will X number of days to resolve before a particular judge who will rule predictably on your motions and then get overturned or not overturned as per his/her history.
     Your facts and arguments don’t matter.
     I also wondered — based on no personal experience whatsoever — how important some of this information could be. Is there that big a difference between the amounts of time different judges need to get things done? Do some of them take minutes to rule and others put you on hold for years?
     And do judges who get overturned keep making the same rulings so that they’ll get overturned again?
     It’s possible, but it seems unlikely.
     And what do you do if you don’t like your assigned judge’s historical analysis? Do you file a recusal motion based on your likelihood of winning?
     I am, however, a baseball fan so I don’t dismiss the value of stats. They make the game more fun and interesting.
     But you know what happens when you bring in a pinch hitter to bat right against a left-handed pitcher?
     Yep. The other side brings in a right-handed pitcher.
     And when was the last time the Oakland A’s won the World Series?
     But I digress.
     Apparently, the Bloomberg tool can also be used to track the performance of competing companies and law firms. It’s a scouting report.
     You just have to make sure no one changes firms.
     Or bunts against an infield shift.
     
     Told you so. I just want to remind you: You heard it here first.
     The end of the judiciary is nigh!
     In case you missed it, Senator John McCain said last week that Republicans would be “united against any Supreme Court nominee” proposed by Hillary Clinton.
     The senator said later that he would consider nominees, but you can see where this is leading.
     If Clinton wins and the Republicans retain control of the Senate, there will be no new federal judges to replace the ones who die off.
     Federal judges will have to be covered by the Endangered Species Act.

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