Thursday, June 30, 2005

SCOTUS Watch: The Stevens Court?

The Christian Science Monitor will run an interesting article in Friday editions, analyzing the breakdown of the so-called 'federalist revolution' in recent Supreme Court terms and questioning whether Justice John Paul Stevens' name is a more appropriate descriptor for recent trends than the Chief Justice's. I think Justices O'Connor and/or Kennedy probably deserve the title as much or more than Stevens does (and not to spoil the fun, but that's basically the same conclusion reached by the article's author, Warren Richey).

In effect, Richey argues, conservatives on the Court have been unable to muster enough support to take things much further down the federalist road: "Carried to their extreme, the federalism and property-takings projects might have triggered a wholesale assault on much of the modern regulatory state that dates from the New Deal. But instead of a call to arms, the conservative wing disintegrated, leaving the chief justice with no blockbuster precedents this year," due in large part to the alliance of centrists O'Connor, Kennedy and Souter (at various times) with the more liberal justices.

A Stevens Court? No, the Rehnquist Court has certainly turned into a centrist one.


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