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When a justice's opinion is supremely important

Thanks to Mike Cernovich and Orin Kerr, I have read and now recommend professor Ward Farnsworth's article "Signatures of Ideology: The Case of the Supreme Court's Criminal Docket." After studying non-unanimous decisions by the high court over the past 50 years, Farnsworth wrote the following paragraph:

"[E]very case provokes competition between a Justice's preferences on the one hand and the legal materials on the other. When the legal materials are very strong, they can produce unanimity despite conflicting preferences. But when the legal materials aren't so strong -- when they don't point to a clear answer, and leave room for discretionary judgment -- the competition is won by the Justice’s underlying preferences and views of the world."

I agree with Cernovich -- it's worth your while to read the whole thing. 

Posted by Laurel Newby on October 24, 2005 at 04:05 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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