Patterico's Pontifications


Today’s Must Read

Filed under: Court Decisions,Judiciary,Law — Patterico @ 12:00 am

Today’s “Must Read” is this post from Jan Crawford Greenburg. Even if I weren’t pressed for time (and I am), I wouldn’t excerpt it. I want you to read the whole thing.

Greenburg uses the upcoming school desegregation decision as a jumping-off point for an insightful essay about the Roberts Court — and how Roberts’s desire to issue narrow decisions may well be an attempt to rein in one Anthony Kennedy. Greenburg bucks a lot of conventional wisdom in this post — including that about Kennedy. Go forth and read.

4 Responses to “Today’s Must Read”

  1. “Roberts realizes he’s presiding over a Court with just four judicial conservatives. But he surely must want to preside over a Court that functions as a Court—not one with a justice whose vote always is up for grabs and whose direction is set by that vote.”


    AF (683024)

  2. I agree there are several interesting aspects to this article. I first noticed Mrs. Greenburg’s suggestion that Chief Justice Roberts fully grasps the dynamics of the Court and is able to direct its Justices – and by that I don’t mean something as crass as he tells them how to think or vote or write an opinion. I took her article to mean that CJ Roberts understands the other Justices’ concerns and is able to find common, albeit narrowly-defined, ground.

    Second, I was struck by how predictable Mrs. Greenburg finds many of Justice Kennedy’s positions to be. I never thought of him that way but I hope she is correct. She’s a keen and intelligent observer of the Court so I suspect she is correct.

    Third, it’s interesting to think of this Court as a battle royale between CJ Roberts and Justice Stevens. After reading recent Court opinions (some of which have been addressed here), the differences between CJ Roberts’ and J Stevens’ legal philosophies and abilities are becoming more clear. Like Mrs. Greenburg, my money is on CJ Roberts. Plus, I admit I like the sound of “the Roberts’ Court.”

    Last, I’m interested by Mrs. Greenburg’s suggestion that CJ Roberts will opt for an incremental approach (through narrowly-defined opinions) to changes in the law. In general, I expect that from a conservative Justice – even in areas where s/he might believe the law is wrong – but it’s interesting to think of incremental change as a tactic rather than an end in itself.

    DRJ (c6d1df)

  3. Sorry to be off topic here, but I’ve been trying to find hippercritical and can’t, do you know what happened to the blog?

    ligneus (9d3014)

  4. After reading this summary of Chris Wallace’s interview with Sandra Day O’Connor, conservatives are fortunate she is no longer a member of the Court. Justice O’Connonr has an interesting attitude toward stare decisis, which she says is misunderstood. Now that she has left the Court, I’m curious how she would view the application of this doctrine to past Court decisions. What about Kelo and the capital punishment cases banning the death penalty for mentally-impaired and under-18 defendants? Should the doctrine of stare decisis applied to prevent those changes int he law? Similarly, does she believe earlier Courts were justified in permitting abortion and affirmative action? Sadly, I can’t help but wonder if what she really means is that stare decisis should apply prospectively to foreclose changes to decisions in which she participated.

    DRJ (2d5e62)

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