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Bench Memos

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Disorder in the Court



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Regarding that Texas redistricting case, in an e-mail list exchange among political scientists who study the courts, one of our number asked plaintively how one is supposed to teach students a decision that begins thus:

Kennedy, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts II-A and III, in which Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined, an opinion with respect to Parts I and IV, in which Roberts, C. J., and Alito, J., joined, an opinion with respect to Parts II-B and II-C, and an opinion with respect to Part II-D, in which Souter and Ginsburg, JJ., joined. Stevens, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Breyer, J., joined as to Parts I and II. Souter, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Ginsburg, J., joined. Breyer, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Roberts, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part, in which Alito, J., joined. Scalia, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part, in which Thomas, J., joined, and in which Roberts, C. J., and Alito, J., joined as to Part III.

My friend Mark Graber at the University of Maryland had the ready reply: show students a clip of the Marx Brothers’ “A Night at the Opera,” specifically “the contract scene, where students will learn that ‘the party of the first part shall be known as the party of the first part.’”

Perfect.



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