Bench Memos

Alito & Precedent

From an article by Charles Lane in today’s Washington Post:

“If he learned anything from me, he learned the value of stare decisis ,” said Judge Leonard I. Garth, a Nixon appointee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit for whom Alito, 55, served as a law clerk in 1976-77 — and later joined as a colleague on the court.

But Garth added: “If what you’re thinking is ‘Would Sam overrule Roe ?’ — he would not. He might have restrictions and limitations, but it is a precedent he’d honor. As a previous mentor and as a present colleague, I don’t think he’ll overrule it.” . . . .

“Based on my experience, he has an abiding respect for stare decisis , and frankly I’ve never seen anything that would give rise to a hint of disrespect for precedent,” said Timothy K. Lewis, a Washington lawyer who served on the 3rd Circuit from 1992 to 1999. “He is unequivocally not a judicial activist in any way, shape or form.”

Jonathan H. Adler — Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in environmental, administrative, and constitutional law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Most Popular

Film & TV

In Unsane, Aetna Meets Kafka

Unsane doesn’t take the form of a horror film; at first, it appears to be a Hitchcockian thriller about mistaken identity or perhaps getting ensnared in a web of bureaucracy. Yet with clinical detachment it develops into a nerve-flaying story almost too agonizing to endure. Unlike most horror movies, it isn’t ... Read More

Viva l’Italia?

Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. I wanted to talk with Alberto Mingardi, which I have. He is one of the leading classical liberals in Italy -- the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute, in Milan. (Mingardi himself is Milanese.) He is also an authority in arts and letters. In ... Read More

Putin and the Cult of Leadership

On Sunday, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin won an unsurprising reelection-campaign victory against Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, by a margin of 76.7 percent to 11.8 percent. The results were unsurprising because Putin is a tyrant who murders or imprisons political rivals, and who isn’t afraid to use ... Read More

Trump and Brexit Derangement Syndrome

I am not one of those Brexiteers who believe that Brexit and Trumpism are essentially the same phenomenon in two different countries. To be sure, they both draw on some of the same political trends, notably a distrust of elites and an upsurge of popular anger over evident failures of public policy such as illegal ... Read More

Stand Up to Putin

President Putin’s landslide victory in Russia’s presidential election was achieved against the lackluster competition of a group of mediocre candidates from which the sole serious opponent had been excluded; amid plausible allegations that his security services had tried to poison two Russians in England by ... Read More