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Monday, July 16, 2007

Kennedy in Charge

With the departure of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice Anthony Kennedy has been getting a lot of attention for his crucial vote on many controversial issues before the Supreme Court. In this week’s issue of Newsweek Stuart Taylor Jr. and Evan Thomas discussed their interview with Justice Kennedy. As the article pointed out, in nineteen cases that were decided by 5-4 votes this term, Justice Kennedy was in the majority in every one.

According to Taylor and Thomas, Kennedy enjoys debating and deciding controversial decisions, but he does not like being called a “swing vote,” which, according to him, “indicates that you elect to swing for the purpose of accommodating one side or the other.” When asked about Chief Justice Roberts (largely failed) attempts to build more consensus on the Court and issue fewer separate opinions, Justice Kennedy responded “I guess I haven't helped much. My initial reaction was going to be, ‘Just let me write all the opinions’.”

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