Wednesday, July 01, 2009

SCOTUS Shifts Right?

Headline in the NYT:

Roberts Court Shifts Right, Tipped by Kennedy

With 60 Democrats in the Senate now, I'd say that's the last refuge of hope.

In the article we read how Chief Justice Roberts is "planting seeds" and is "increasing mastery of the judicial machinery". Comfortingly, it says that foreshadows "a widening gap between the Democratic-led political branches and the Supreme Court. Indeed, the court appears poised to move to the right in the Obama era."

Well as my wife would say (mimicking a former southern friend of ours) "Thank the Sweet Baby Jesus."

The argument seems to be that Roberts is coaxing Kennedy to the right. The evidence? Kennedy votes with Roberts 92% of the time.

It couldn't just be that they happen to agree on these things, I guess.

It does mention Thomas and Scalia might be the two justices most "in play" -- and to back this up, it notes "Justices Scalia and Thomas are apt to follow what they understand to be the original meaning of the Constitution, even when the consequences might not align with their policy preferences."

I dunno about you, but it sounds to me like the Bushes chose wisely. A very concise job description, really.

But the very last bit in the article stuck out to me. It says:

"The Constitution, it turns out, means what Justice Kennedy says it means."

I know what he's saying, but he has to agree with at least four other justices. So it's not really that simple. If Roberts is successful in persuasively arguing for a more originalist interpretation of the Constitution .... there may be hope.

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