Will the Retirement of Anthony Kennedy Change the Makeup of the Court?

I could sit for hours and listen to Prof.  Erwin Chemerinski talk about anything.  He did his Review of the Supreme Court last week for the 9th Circuit Judicial Conf.  Before he spoke, Judge Jay Bybee put a whole bunch of statistics about the last Supreme Court term on the screen.  One statistic that kind of jumped out is that on every 5-4 vote last term, Kennedy voted with the “conservatives.”  That suggests that replacing Kennedy with a “conservative” judge will not change, significantly for sure, the judicial makeup of the court.

When Chemerinski spoke then he commented on that fact and said that Kennedy typically joined the “liberals” of the court in five specific areas and in those areas, the new makeup will be significant.  The five areas are:

  • Abortion
  • Affirmative Axtion
  • Gay rights
  • Exclusionary rule
  • Limits on the death penalty

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