Another cog in the wheel known as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to combat the Extreme Left-Wing Media.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Leadership on the Supreme Court

I don't want this to be taken as criticism of the late chief justice, but a couple recent Supreme Court rulings strike me as being evidence of strong leadership by Chief Justice Roberts. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Solomon Amendment was Constitutional. That means colleges which accept federal funds must allow access to the campus to military recruiters. A week ago, the court also was unanimous in ruling that abortion protesters don't meet the requirements of the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act.

It is obviously too early to make any judgments about the Roberts led court, but it is a nice start. People may assume each justice decides on a case on their own. That is far from the truth. Justices are influenced by many factors, their background, research by clerks, and yes actual debate among justices. Leading and directing the debate is where a strong chief justice can exert influence. The Warren Court is best remembered for the unanimous decision in Brown vs. Board of Education. Warren's ability to build a consensus leading to the unanimous ruling gave that decision much greater acceptance than a split decision would have. Personally, I've been dismayed by the many 5-4 or 6-3 decisions. Something is either clearly Constitutional or it isn't. Split decisions leave me feeling the case may have been decided by a different metric than constitutionality by some of the justices.

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