She discussed various predictors (attributed to various scholars) regarding ideological movement, including whether the justice is new residents to the DC area (those who have prior DC experience are less likely to change their positions in the context of DC culture), whether the justice has prior executive branch experience (those with prior experience are less likely to change their ideology), and any life-changing events that the justices have experienced (e.g. Justice Thomas's confirmation hearings). She indicated that Justice Thomas is unlikely to become more liberal over time because his defenders on the right during his confirmation hearings so firmly anchored him to that ideology. Her conclusion seemed to be that Justices Roberts and Alito are unlikely to change their ideological stances over time based on the first two tests (both have prior DC experience and both worked in the executive branch)....Maybe it's for the law professors.
On the idea that justices become more liberal as they get older because they're tired of being criticized in the media and they want people to write nice things about them: "You're referring to the Notorious Greenhouse Effect." "This is the idea that justices become more liberal as they get older because they want the east coast liberal media, such as the New York Times, to write nice things about them in their obituaries." She was skeptical of this as an explanation for ideological movement.
May 25, 2007
David Lat has notes on a law firm lunch talk given by Linda Greenhouse.