Justice Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court's Conservative Moment

By Christopher E. Smith | Go to book overview

1
The Supreme Court's Conservative Moment

The United States Supreme Court sits atop the hierarchy of the American legal system as the most authoritative institution in the federal government's judicial branch. Unlike Congress and the office of the president, which are composed of a myriad of agencies and committees and multiple layers of decision makers, the Supreme Court consists of only nine individual human beings. Because of its small size and the close interaction of the justices within its decision-making process, the Supreme Court is structured to provide opportunities for individual justices to influence the development of constitutional law and public policy significantly. Sometimes individual justices are influential because they cast decisive votes that determine case outcomes when the Court is closely divided over controversial issues. In 1991, for example, Justice David Souter had a significant influence over case outcomes during his first term on the high court because he cast the decisive fifth vote in eleven important cases in which the other justices were evenly split, four to four. 1 Alternatively, individual justices can be especially influential because of the force of their intellect and personality or because they are especially persuasive in communicating with their colleagues in the Court's decision-making process.

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Justice Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court's Conservative Moment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Supreme Court's Conservative Moment 1
  • Notes 20
  • 2 - Justice Antonin Scalia 25
  • Conclusion 50
  • Notes 51
  • 3 - Justice Scalia's Judicial Behavior 55
  • Notes 73
  • 4 - Justice Scalia and the Failure of the Conservative Agenda 77
  • Notes 115
  • 5 - The Influence of the Individual Justice 121
  • Notes 134
  • Select Bibliography 137
  • Index 139
  • About the Author 148
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