December 31, 2005

My New Year's prediction for the Supreme Court.

Yesterday, I blogged about William Safire's predictions about what the Supreme Court would do in a handful of cases. This led to some more generalized speculation in the comments, and Eli wrote:
Actually, with the four on the right, and with the four on the left, we have a court balanced perfectly around one justice. So, one man will control one third of the government. 2006 will be a year in which Anthony Kennedy will wield a sharper and more powerful sword than George W. Bush.
Even though I've said things like this myself, I think it underestimates the intellectual and charismatic powers of the new Chief Justice. So I want to make a different prediction for what 2006 will be like for the Supreme Court: Kennedy will work with John Roberts to forge a newly coherent moderate-conservative position. The project of creating an articulate moderate position will be so compelling and promise such benefits that Stephen Breyer will contribute his formidable skills, and we will see the era of fragmented, ad hoc decisionmaking come to an end.


brylin said...

A optimistic prediction for the New Year. I hope you are right but I'm not holding by breath.

The Texas reapportionment case will be the indicator of whether Kennedy surrenders his independence. I wouldn't bet on Breyer to change his view on this subject.

Happy New Year all!

Icepick said...
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Sebastian said...

Interesting prediction Ann. I hope you turn out to be right. I also hope that there's room for continuing the Rehnquist Court's "New Federalism" in this moderate-conservative position.

I hope you have a happy New Year.

Icepick said...

Brylin, Ann said nothing about Kennedy surrendering his independence. Working with Roberts would be different than working for Roberts. It implies that Roberts would have to give something back. And for that matter we still don't REALLY know how conservative Roberts will be.

And Ann, I think this is the boldest prediction for 2006 I have read. The end of ad hoc decision making? I'll believe it when I read the history books about it way in the future!

Gahrie said...

I predict that there will be another vacancy this year.

XWL said...

"and we will see the era of fragmented, ad hoc decisionmaking come to an end."

Golly, Prof. Althouse, tell us what you really thought of Justice O'Connor. (I think you have already let it slip from time to time)

(I'm guessing not all positive, and that you aren't entirely displeased to see her retirement, regardless of political leaning)

Honey Badger said...

As charismatic as Roberts was in his hearings, what evidence do we have re. how the other justices REALLY feel about working with him, and vice versa? Of course, everyone has been putting the best possible public face on things, but sometimes I wonder.

I think it's too soon to say what the true dynamics of the Roberts court will be. Justices always say it takes a couple of years to hit your stride, and I don't expect the new Chief would be any different in this regard.

brylin: no matter what happens with the reapportionment case, I'm 100% sure Kennedy won't be surrendering anything to anybody, period. He's one shrewd operator. Like Nixon used to say, "never underestimate your enemy's ability to underestimate you."

I predict 2006 will be the year the legislative and the executive combine forces to wage MASSIVE covert internecine guerilla warfare on the judiciary...and wouldn't rule out a politically-manufactured scandal or two.

Eli Blake said...

That would be interesting, and possibly even usher in a new era of bipartisanship, if you could have a Breyer-Kennedy-Roberts 'coalition of the center.'

We will see if you are right.