I will leave it to the likes of Ponnuru, Adler and Clegg to do the heavy-lifting on Linda Greenhouse’s Supreme Court wrap-up. But it strikes me at first glance as having some classic Greenhouse touches, with the usual suggestions of growth and sophistication when the Court takes a liberal turn. I particularly like this graph:
“Justice O’Connor was in the majority this term in all but 2 of the 14 5-to-4 decisions. In five of those, including two that upheld California’s three-strikes sentencing law, she cast her vote with her more conservative colleagues. In four others, including the Michigan law school case and a case that preserved a nationwide program that provides money for legal services for the poor, she voted with Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer.”
You see when she votes with the trogs on the Right they’re “conservative colleagues.” But when O’Connor votes with the liberals she joins the ranks of independent-minded scholars and jurists who defy easy labeling. No, these intellects must be named individually.