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Monday, April 23, 2007

Dangerous Duo?

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito are often linked together in the public’s mind because they joined the Supreme Court at about the same time. The same is true for Justices Scalia and Thomas, who are linked together as the Rehnquist Court’s staunchest conservatives. However, as Joan Biskupic recently discussed in an article in USA Today, Justices Roberts and Scalia may actually be the pair who resemble one another the most:

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia share conservative views on the law, and in Roberts' second term on the court he appears to have formed a bond with Scalia that involves not just substance, but also style. …

[T]hey have become partners in energizing court sessions. They reinforce each other's points and sometimes even finish each other's sentences. Occasionally, they
launch into rapid, back-and-forth dialogues that recall the routines of Abbott and Costello.

Indeed, the dissent by the Chief Justice in the recent global warming case suggests that he may be adopting Justice Scalia's acerbic writing style. If the Chief Justice continues to pattern his behavior after that of Justice Scalia, whose scornful manner has been known to alienate his colleagues, we doubt that the Chief Justice can make good on his promise to be a consensus-builder on the Court.

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