I had not heard of University of California economics Professor James Bradford Delong until he started attacking me unprovoked, including impugning my teaching about which he knows nothing.

I learned quickly that DeLong has many enemies in academia because of his vituperative style of argument, which fast is becoming clownish.

I recently learned something else.

In the wake of the 2000 election, DeLong expressed an opinion in court attempting to hand Al Gore the election by disqualifying legitimate Bush votes based on his statistical analysis, leading to complete embarrassment on cross-examination when he was forced to admit he lacked the necessary data to back up his conclusions, Judge Sets `Tough Standard’ for Democrats in Trial (emphasis mine):

Richman asked witness J. Bradford DeLong, a statistician, to recommend an alternative to throwing out all 15,000 absentee ballots.

DeLong, a former Treasury Department official and professor at University of California at Berkeley, said his analysis of exit polling data supported throwing out up to 1,709 absentee votes for Bush.

DeLong’s testimony inspired cross-examination from four Republican lawyers. Under this questioning, DeLong said he had no data on absentee ballots to support his conclusion.

“Did you obtain exit-poll data from Seminole County?” said Republican lawyer Terry Young.

“I couldn’t find it,” DeLong replied.

DeLong also said he had “no reason to think” that someone other than a voter filling in identification numbers on ballot applications would affect the ballots themselves.

And he got paid $500 per hour.  For that and this (emphasis mine):

Acknowledging the severity of the remedy, the plaintiffs offered an alternative: With the help of a statistics expert, James Bradford DeLong, a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, the plaintiff lawyers suggested erasing votes based on the number of disputed ballot applications, proportionately allocating the lost votes for each candidate by a formula taking into account that most of the allegedly tainted applications came from Republicans.

Under heated cross-examination, Mr. DeLong conceded that his calculations didn’t include any allowances for voters who might have gone to the polls anyway if they hadn’t received their absentee ballots because of defective applications. Republicans called only one witness, an attorney who inspected all Seminole absentee -ballot requests and found that some citizens whose requests had been turned down voted anyway.

Jeez.  I think this is a fair assessment of his attempt to disqualify votes:

He can call me any names he wants, and I’m sure he will, but I’ve never attempted to disqualify legitimate votes.

To quote the esteemed law professor Stephen Bainbridge:

“With luck, this’ll be the last time his toxic style of intellectual thuggery and execrable personality will be mentioned in these pages.”

Somehow I doubt I will have that luck.

Update 1-15-2013 – A reader sent me a link to the C-SPAN video of DeLong’s testimony. The full testimony starts at 4:03:10. Cross examination by Stuart Levey at 4:32:10. Cross by Terry Young at 4:48:57 (this link should get you to that spot).

 
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