Outstanding pick. I've never met the man, but from what I can tell he's smart, experienced, and principled. I can't imagine him not being confirmed.

For once, the markets actually picked this one right too.

A reminder that Larry Ribstein had a thorough post on Alito's major business law decisions this weekend.

Justice Fuller:
Of course, the markets "picked" Alito only when press accounts were reporting that he was the likely selection.
10.31.2005 11:12am
GMUSL 2L (mail):
Prof. Zywicki:

What do you think of Alito's dissent in In re Continental Airlines?

I'd be interested in hearing your opinion of that and his other bankruptcy decisions.
10.31.2005 11:55am
AK (mail):
I'm continually fascinated by the implication that disagreement with a Supreme Court, panel, or en banc majority reflects poorly on a nominee's qualifications.

The justices on the Supreme Court dissent from opinions all the time. Are the dissenters in any given opinion somehow less-qualified than the majority to sit on the Court?
10.31.2005 12:05pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
Todd has a limited imagination.

Alito's may have principles, but it is clear that those principles are not acceptable to large numbers of people. It is not even clear that his "principles" are compatible with the rule of law. I just read his dissent in Doe v Groody, and I think he should be disbarred, not appointed to the Supreme Court.
10.31.2005 12:28pm
Paul Gowder (mail) (www):
For once, the markets actually picked this one right too.

Don't remind me!! How does this happen? No information was coming out, and the press accounts were little better than speculation absent some leak. How does one aggregate nonexistent information?

(Yes, I'm just mad because I placed a last minute bet AGAINST Alito on the "markets about stuff as to which there's no information won't work" theory.)
10.31.2005 12:37pm
Aaron C. (mail):
Tradesports got the Roberts pick right as well.... just before the announcement.
10.31.2005 12:39pm
AK (mail):
Tradesports is unregulated. You could make an absolute killing there with insider information, and no one can ever catch you. I suspect that's what has driven the prices to predict the correct nominee. The markets are simply reflecting nonpublic information.
10.31.2005 12:54pm
Shelby (mail):
The markets are simply reflecting nonpublic information

and thereby making it public, at least in some form. That's a good thing.
10.31.2005 1:38pm
Paul Gowder (mail) (www):
Shelby, how is that a good thing? What is the utility of the additional information to anyone? It merely advances, by a day or two, the official announcement and nobody can trace the source and conclusively determine that it's inside information as opposed to gossip, a cascade, or manipulation?
10.31.2005 1:47pm
Zywicki (mail):
Paul, Aaron, et al.:
I have no idea. According to Ribstein's post, Alito was way up a few days ago, long before I think anyone knew for sure. I was dismissive of the market.

Maybe its just because Alito is in New Jersey so all those sophisticated Wall Streeters were able to use the info better. I'm just joking--I honestly have no idea how the market got this one.
10.31.2005 2:28pm
GMUSL 2L (mail):
And Alito was well in the lead since Friday on Tradesports.
10.31.2005 2:46pm
Shelby (mail):
Mr. Gowder,

It's a good thing because matters of public interest and public policy should get all the information input possible. In this particular case the value of this information is positive but not very large, for the reasons you give. It's helpful to anyone who wanted to, e.g., decide how to allocate limited research time among potential nominees in the day or two before the nomination was announced. Any journalist on this beat would find that very useful.

Markets in general don't tell us why, say, GM is worth less today than yesterday, but it's still very useful to know that the consensus thinks GM is worth less. (And that kind of information is much more valuable than predictions of SCOTUS nominees.)
10.31.2005 3:40pm
Paul Gowder (mail) (www):

But then we see a contradiction in the market. In order to encourage people to get this information out to the public, we have to provide financial incentives for them to do so. In order to provide the financial incentives, we have to ensure that enough people (like me, apparently) will remain ignorant for long enough that they can make their killing.

I also would like to dredge up a long-lost cliche and say "information is not knowledge." One has to accept an almost Laplacian worldview to think that the rise of the odds on a Supreme Court nominee which may or may not reflect inside information might actually provide data that a journalist or someone could make effective use of.

(Actually, I wonder what the information about GM's daily worth is good for too...)
10.31.2005 5:37pm
Shelby (mail):
Mr. Gowder:

"We" don't have to provide any financial incentives at all. The participants provide their own incentives; we get to free-ride, if we wish. Nor do we need to ensure people remain ignorant; private players may have such an incentive, but these things have a way of coming out. In larger markets (e.g. NYSE) we often formalize rules to make sure information becomes public reasonably quickly. In this market (SCOTUS nominations), insiders have some incentive to make the information public and get credit for disseminating it.

And I think the information at issue here, while arguably not "knowledge," is a sufficient proxy to tell a journalist his pre-nomination research should include Alito as well as McConnell, Luttig and one or two leading women. The information doesn't mandate this, just encourages it.

I never meant to make a huge deal of this; having the info out there is a net plus, but not a very big one.

And the information on GM is mighty interesting to, say, people thinking of buying its bonds on any given day, let alone its stock. I'll bet the unions are interested, too, and major suppliers or competitors.
10.31.2005 6:58pm