And here's a quote from Chief Justice Rehnquist:
[T]he court "is an institution far more dominated by centrifugal forces, pushing towards individuality and independence, than it is by centripetal forces pulling for hierarchical ordering and institutional unity."Funny, since the front page of yesterday's NYT had Linda Greenhouse talking about the way there is a strong centripetal force on the Court (which I agreed with). But Greenhouse's centripetal force metaphor referred to the Justices' tendency to move to the ideological center, while Rehnquist used that metaphor to mean adherence to the ideology the President perceived in the judge at the time of appointment. So there is no real disagreement here. The Justices acting independently -- affected by the Chief's "centrifugal force" -- are breaking away from the ideology they brought to the Court and, if they move to the center, this Rehnquistian "centifugal" move is the Greenhousian "centripetal" move.
Strange how we picture a person's ideology as a thing existing in space and subject to the principles of physics!
Do you ever look critically at the diagram of politics you've got stored in your head that you use all the time without thinking much about? How about that mental picture of the Court? It's pretty simplistic, isn't it?
I wish Presidents would choose judges who are deep and serious thinkers with enough dimension and substance that we wouldn't be able to form such a simple picture. I wish the opinions were written by people whose work I would be interested in reading if it had no grand authoritative power to it.