Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Scalia as CJ, Liberal Dream?

Steven Lubet argues that liberals ought not to resist the elevation of Antonin Scalia to the Chief Justice’s chair. Why not? Three reasons: the CJ has limited power; Scalia doesn’t know how to win friends and influence people, so he’ll be ineffective if he sticks to his guns; or the responsibility will moderate him. Keep the powder dry, Lubet advises, for an associate justice position that could really affect the direction of the Court.

I’m persuaded. Scalia is quite effective where he is. Let’s nominate a younger, less incendiary, but no less principled Chief Justice when the time comes. Like Michael McConnell.

One of my former students--whose own political predilections are quite a bit more liberal than mine--took a class from him at Harvard Law School over the Winter Term. (McConnell was visiting; he hasn’t jumped from the judiciary back to the academy.) The verdict: conservative, but impressive. (I would of course have replaced the "but" with an "and.") The campaign continues....

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