Patterico's Pontifications

7/9/2007

Fallout From ‘The Arrogance Of Justice Anthony Kennedy’?

Filed under: Judiciary — Justin Levine @ 9:53 am

[posted by Justin Levine] 

Last month, I noted a devastatingly insightful piece by Jeffrey Rosen on Justice Anthony Kennedy. [I’m not naive – I doubt that Rosen would have bothered to write his piece had Kennedy voted with the liberal majority on a few key cases. But regardless of Rosen’s motivations, I found that his article pretty much nailed its subject.]

A few subsequent writings about Kennedy suggest that others were influenced by the piece as well. Slowly and subtly, it is having an impact on how the public perceives Kennedy.  I doubt that the articles linked to in the first sentence of this paragraph would have been written in the same fashion (or even at all) if it were not for Rosen’s article.

— Justin Levine

14 Responses to “Fallout From ‘The Arrogance Of Justice Anthony Kennedy’?”

  1. Kennedy claims he doesn’t like being referred to as
    ‘power broker’. Apparently, he’s not the brightest bulb of the bunch. Methinks it is Roberts and Scalia’s influence that determines his vote (they leave him to vote his own conscience on occasion, just for credibility), and they don’t mind letting him have the glory.

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  2. I doubt most Americans know who Anthony Kennedy is.

    Besides, isn’t the whole point of lifetime appointments to nullify the influence of public opinion on a given Justice?

    Leviticus (26c361)

  3. “nullify the influence of public opinion on a given Justice?”

    In a perfect world. But they are sensitive (somewhat) to public opinion. Then there is the legacy thing. Their peers are watching.

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  4. Semanticleo — I you have read Jan Crawford Greenburg’s book, that’s exactly the belief you would come away with.

    A great fear of liberals is that Kennedy’s vote is much more in play now for conservative outcomes because Roberts especially, and Alito to a lesser extent, are much better able to “persuade” Kennedy to their point of view because they are not “absolutists” in the same way Scalia and Thomas are, and they are more “people persons” than Rehnquist ever was.

    Greenburg details how Thomas’ very strident conservatism first began to push O’Connor to views much more moderate than her first 6 years on the court.

    It also talks about the influence that Breyer and Souter have had on Kennedy over the years.

    But Roberts is a strong personality without being aloof (Rehnquist) or caustice (Scalia), and I think Breyer’s fear of Roberts and Alito’s crucial influence over Kennedy is reflected in his comments from the bench in the Schools case on the last day of the term.

    wls (077d0d)

  5. wls;

    I confess I haven’t read any new books since ‘Proud Highway’ because non-fiction was never better than
    the internet.

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  6. Great article find. Not that I know anything about the Supreme Court, but it does seem a bit generous in the contrast to Warren. Kennedy is correct that the court really exerted more change than any other government institution since the early fifties. The Warren Court appeared to have sent the entire public school system to a re-education camp.

    michael (c52140)

  7. The last line of the Newsweek article shows that those who call Kennedy arrogant and power-hungry are exactly correct.

    And, to that fellow who thinks that Kennedy is in the top rank intellectually (!): You may be the only one who thinks that. The rest of us have more sense.

    Pray for the Republic.

    Alan (9ea30d)

  8. ” The Warren Court appeared to have sent the entire public school system to a re-education camp.”

    Yes, with about the same outcome that we found in Mao’s China.

    The “Great Leap Forward” probably set back Chinese society 50-75 years. Most people today would love to be able to send their kids to a public-school that performed today as well as schools 75 years ago.

    Also, don’t forget that Earl Warren as Governor, was a vocal advocate of Japanese relocation during WW-2. Could his performance on the Court have been a form of punishment/attonement?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  9. Anthony Kennedy. Terrible shame about that plane crash. I really liked his magazine.

    Red (e07696)

  10. Also, don’t forget that Earl Warren as Governor, was a vocal advocate of Japanese relocation during WW-2. Could his performance on the Court have been a form of punishment/attonement?

    He did what had to be done when it had to be done.

    Also, Parents v. Seattle (whatever — the racial classification ruling) was nothing remedying anything demanded by Brown v. Board of Education or any other Supreme Court decision. The assignments by race were purely a product of the local governmental process. It was a failure of democracy which the Court stepped in to fix just like it did in 1952.

    I live in a very good little village full of doctors, lawyers and financiers. It has a very good K-5 school with a class size of less than twenty across the street from my house. Every morning, the white mommies in their Lexuses and Volvos, looking like they just stepped out of the beauty shop, drop off their kids. I drive my daughter three miles to a much better private school. She has a class size of less than twenty as well. And white, black, asian and latin mommies and daddies, in economy sedans and pickup trucks, dropping off her classmates. The “diversity” is coincindental. The commonality is that we will reach as deep in our pocket as we can to send our kids to a good school.

    nk (37e215)

  11. “I haven’t read any new books since ‘Proud Highway’…”

    -Semanticleo

    Are you talking about the Hunter S. Thompson compliation?

    Leviticus (ecb59b)

  12. Ahem…

    “compilation”.

    Leviticus (ecb59b)

  13. “Are you talking about the Hunter S. Thompson compliation?”

    The very same.

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  14. Nice. Thompson is my favorite author.

    I have “Fear and Loathing in America”, a volume of his correspondence from the 60’s and 70’s, and it’s really interesting, but I don’t have “The Proud Highway”. Would you recommend it (or would you say that it offers something, in terms of insight into point of view, that his other works do not)?

    Leviticus (27d8e4)


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