- Howard Bashman reports that Chief Justice Roberts is attempting to get more unified rulings in more cases, rather than the close counts and/or flurry of dissents and concurrences that leave lawyers scratching their heads over how to proceed. Roberts says, among other things,
The whole notion that it's functioning as a Court doesn't seem to appeal to anyone ... I think it's bad, long-term, if people identify the rule of law with how individual justices vote.Bashman notes that achieving greater consensus is easier in theory than in practice (noting some of Roberts' own minority positions).
- The L.A. Times speculates that Justice Scalia may emerge as the leader of a new conservative majority in some of the major cases this year. If he writes the majority opinions in some of the hot issues coming before the court in the near future, he could leave his black-and-white thinking to guide development of some whole swaths of social issues.
Even when in the majority, Scalia has written relatively few major opinions for the court. Rehnquist, during his tenure as chief justice from 1986 to 2005, rarely turned to Scalia, because doing so risked losing the crucial votes of moderates, in particular O'Connor and Kennedy.His popularity hasn't increased, I don't think, but the substitution of Alito and Roberts for O'Connor and Rehnquist means that there may be more ideological allies for Scalia's conservative views on more cases to come. Only time will tell how that will play out.
(via How Appealing)