A friend here in NRO precincts suggests that Jeffrey Rosen wasn’t really praising Anthony Kennedy in that line I quoted below from his review of a new Earl Warren biography. If it wasn’t praise, it certainly wasn’t criticism of Kennedy. Perhaps it was merely descriptive when Rosen called Kennedy a “centrist activist” with a “faith in the ability of enlightened judges to run the country.” But it’s fairly clear that Rosen admires Earl Warren a good deal, and has no problem with the indistinguishability of Warren’s politics from his jurisprudence. And the sentence that follows the one I quoted is this: “But Kennedy lacks Warren’s greatest skill: his ability to build coalitions on the court and to win over ideological opponents by skillful persuasion.” Would it be wrong to conclude that Rosen’s admiration for Kennedy would increase if nothing else changed about him except his acquisition of Warren’s skill—if, that is, he persuaded more often? It is possible that Rosen believe Kennedy to be a bit too full of himself (a not uncommon judgment). But it looks to me like Rosen wishes he had more reason to be so.