We May Get a Conservative Chief Justice

Source: Wall Street Journal (behind paywall).

James Taranto points out a significant, if subtle, consequence of ACB’s appointment to the Supreme Court:

“The chief justice is an especially potent swing voter, because he also has the power to assign authorship of the majority opinion, including to himself. That can help shape a decision’s scope and direction—usually, in Chief Justice Roberts’s case, by making it more tentative.

“If the chief justice is in dissent, however, the assignment power falls to the most senior associate justice in the majority. Clarence Thomas is now the most senior justice, so he will assign authorship any time he is in the majority and Chief Justice Roberts dissents…

“So what does Chief Justice Roberts do when the associate justices split 5-3 along familiar lines? If he joins the liberals and makes it 5-4, Justice Thomas gets to assign the majority opinion and perhaps induce the court to a bolder conclusion. If the chief justice joins the majority, he makes the assignment. The resulting 6-3 decision will likely be less sweeping, but it won’t be liberal. Those who hoped for a conservative chief justice 15 years ago may finally get one.”

This sounds like a good thing to me. And interesting for showing that how a thing works can be as important what it does.

7 thoughts on “We May Get a Conservative Chief Justice

  1. Yes, I agree.

    The more radical this egregiously anachronistic and political Court behaves, the less political heat for the Democrats when it – and all the Federal Courts – are reorganized and dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. For example, when Justice Barrett keeps her promise and destroys the Affordable Care Act, let’s have her write the opinion so that she can be sure to let us know that Medicare is Unconstitutional as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “when Justice Barrett keeps her promise and destroys the Affordable Care Act.” Please share with us when and where she made this promise.


    1. Don’t want to believe me, believe Trump. He stated categorically that his appointment would be someone who would overturn the ACA.


      Shortly after being put on the Federalist Society shortlist – from which ALL GOP judicial appointments are made – she went out of her way to publish an article critical of Chief Justice Roberts deciding vote in the original ACA case. In her words . . .

      “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”


      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s not that I didn’t want to believe you but, rather, I didn’t believe you. And you proved me correct as you lied. What president Trump said doesn’t convey to Justice Barrett. You said she “promised” to destroy the ACA when in fact she promised no such thing. Again, you lied.


        1. She did not promise me or you, she promised Trump. Why do you suppose she went out of her way to publish a criticism of Roberts’s opinion when her name appeared on that short list? She was auditioning for the role. She was very conscious of Trump’s MANY promises to get rid of the ACA through the Courts. When she said she did not know about Trump’s promises, she was committing perjury. Obviously.

          You can call me names until you turn blue. Coming from people of your ilk – those willfully ignorant people blind to Trump’s gargantuan dishonesty and incompetence – I take it as a compliment.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. At least I tell the truth. You, on the other hand make a lot of assumptions and pass them on as facts. Your whole first paragraph in your latest post is another statement/assumption that is totally void of the truth. I should at least give you some credit as you don’t post quotes known to be false inside of quotation marks like some others on this forum. And like I’ve said many times to others on this site I did not vote for president Trump. And you have the nerve to call me willfully ignorant because I tell the truth. In the real world liars are the truly ignorant.


          2. You ARE willfully ignorant and uncivil to boot. You do not hesitate to call other people liars when in fact there MAY be a different interpretation of known facts that you willfully ignore. I grant you that Justice Barrett did not look into the camera and say “I promise to destroy the ACA.” But the point is she might as well have done since that is how she lobbied for the job and that is what Trump said he required of a SCOTUS appointee. She went out of her way to write an opinion piece saying that the first ACA case was wrongly decided and now, immediately after the election she will get a chance to completely overturn the ACA as the GOP has been trying – unsuccessfully – to do for ten years now.

            Liked by 1 person

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