The Corner

Scalia as Coalition-Builder

Several people have e-mailed me with some version of the following critique of my piece on Justice Scalia: The problem with Scalia’s sarcastic dissents is not that they’re improper so much as that they keep him from getting Kennedy or O’Connor to vote with him. Kennedy has, however, been willing to vote with Scalia on at least one of the divisive, high-stakes cases (Stenberg). On other issues, I’m not sure that either vote was really Scalia’s to lose. But if it is true that Scalia’s rhetoric has caused Kennedy and O’Connor to vote differently than they would otherwise have voted, surely that says more about their temperamental suitability for the job than it does about his.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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