Patterico's Pontifications

12/4/2006

Bolton Resigns

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:55 am

John Bolton has resigned. Allah says:

Not a surprise, really.

Bad things happen when you lose your majority.

Yes they do.

And That’s the Name of My Opinion — Or My Name Isn’t Stephen Breyhart

Filed under: General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 12:17 am

In the past I have picked on Harry Reid for criticizing Justice Thomas’s decisions without knowing what they actually said.

But maybe I was too harsh. After all, even Supreme Court Justices can get the names of their own opinions wrong. For example, yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Justice Breyer had the following exchange with host Chris Wallace:

CHRIS WALLACE: How do you, as a justice, decide what’s good precedent and what’s bad precedent?

BREYER: There are principles that help you decide . . . There are a number [of] different factors. And it’s going to take more than 12 minutes if I go into them here. But I can tell you, you can read some of them in Casey v. Polino, in the decision that Justice Souter, Justice O’Connor and Justice Kennedy wrote.

But as Howard Bashman notes, Casey v. Polino is an obscure ERISA case Breyer wrote when he was on the Court of Appeals. Breyer meant to refer to the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

This phenomenon is nothing new. During the partial-birth abortion argument, as Dahlia Lithwick noted (and she’s right, too — I heard the oral argument):

Breyer seem[ed] to continue to refer to the Stenberg case as, alternatively Stenhart or Cathcart.

He wrote that one too.

None of this would bother me that much, if I thought he remembered (and gave deference to) the holdings of the decisions — and more importantly, to the reasonable meaning of the Constitution. But having read a few of his opinions, I think he is as scatterbrained on the law as he is on the names of his own opinions.


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