Bench Memos

Alito and Supreme Court precedent

Given the celebrated inconsistency of Justice O’Connor’s positions and her steady slide to the Left over the years, most if not all of the several instances in which the Supreme Court has disagreed with Judge Alito (out of his 15 years of rulings) have a ready and telling explanation: Judge Alito, at the time of his rulings, has taken seriously the Supreme Court precedents then in effect and has, with intellectual rigor, applied them faithfully — only to learn later the cruel lesson that O’Connor’s ad hoc approach is subversive of principled decisionmaking . Alito has, in short, been far more faithful to Supreme Court precedent, and to O’Connor’s previously stated positions, than O’Connor has.

Ed Whelan — Ed Whelan is a leading commentator on nominations to the Supreme Court and the lower courts and on issues of constitutional law.

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