The Corner

Law & the Courts

Subtraction by Addition

Associate Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer arrives at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

At the Free Beacon, Kevin Daley makes the case that the retirement of Justice Breyer, and his replacement with a “young progressive stalwart,” might actually make the Supreme Court more conservative. The key point:

Breyer’s unique judicial approach makes him an effective emissary to his conservative colleagues, helping the left salvage victory from the brink of defeat in cases big and small. It’s unclear whether his eventual successor will be as effective at building consensus or turning broad questions into narrow ones.

It’s always hard to tell how these things will turn out. But one has to wonder whether, in her quieter moments, Justice Kagan would agree. She’s already somewhat isolated, and the addition of another Sotomayor-esque colleague would likely serve to make her more so.

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