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Jan 17, 2006 11:06 pm


The Kennedy Court



My colleague, Oscar Chamberlain, correctly notes below that today's Supreme Court decision on Oregon's assisted suicide law gives the lie to any argument for consistency by the Court's conservatives on issues associated with federalism.

The decision was significant for another reason, however: it reminds us that even though Samuel Alito's likely elevation will create a block of four conservatives unlike anything seen on the Court since the Four Horsemen of 1937, the Court as currently constituted will be Anthony Kennedy's. And the jurisprudence of Kennedy, as Dahlia Lithwick points out, is even harder to predict than was Sandra Day O'Connor.

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John H. Lederer - 1/18/2006

Those are quite few--the cross burning case comes to mind. In my opinion, of the present justices, Thomas has been the clearest in enunciating his principles, and the most consistent in adhering to them. One may disagree with his principles--I rather suspect many here do--but he is straightforward and consistent.

In some ways he reminds me of Black when Black was in the absolutist position of the Bill of Rights meaning exactly what it said.



Ralph E. Luker - 1/18/2006

Mr. Lederer, We'll rely on you to point out instances when Justice Thomas is _not_ principled.


John H. Lederer - 1/18/2006

Thomas' dissent is far more principled than you imply.

He points out that he disagrees with the contitutional underpinnings (consistent with his dissent in Raich) but that this in this case the consitutional question is not presented for review, only a narrow issue of statutory interpretation.

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