Cato Supreme Court Review: 2006-2007

Cato Supreme Court Review: 2006-2007

Cato Supreme Court Review: 2006-2007

Cato Supreme Court Review: 2006-2007


A timely review of the Court's recent decisions.


Roger Pilon

The Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies is pleased to publish this sixth volume of the Cato Supreme Court Review, an annual critique of the Court’s most important decisions from the term just ended, plus a look at the cases ahead—all from a classical Madisonian perspective, grounded in the nation’s first principles, liberty and limited government. We release this volume each year at Cato’s annual Constitution Day conference. And each year in this space I discuss briefly a theme that seemed to emerge from the Court’s term or from the larger setting in which the term unfolded.

This was the first full term of the Roberts Court, of course, and many were the commentaries at term’s end about how things may have changed from the long years of the Rehnquist Court. A useful context for those commentaries appeared early this year with the publication of ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg’s important new book, Supreme Conflict, which chronicled the largely failed struggle over the past quarter century of the politically ascendant conservative movement to reshape the Court in its own image. Ms. Greenburg concluded, however, that with the confirmation of John Roberts and Samuel Alito—more savvy and focused than the justices they replaced—the movement may have succeeded at last in putting its stamp on the Court. But what is that stamp? And do we see signs of it in this first full term?

During his confirmation hearings and after, Chief Justice Roberts made it clear that his was an evolutionary approach to legal change, if change there must be—that is one sense of “conservative.” Cognizant of the need to bring the Court’s independent minds together to some degree if the Court is to speak at all, he thought it better . . .

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