UK’s The Telegraph created lists of the 100 most influential conservatives and the most influential liberals leading into the 2008 elections. John Roberts made number #8 on the conservative list, Antonin Scalia came in at #62, and Clarence Thomas came in at #85. John Paul Stevens, despite claiming to be a conservative, came in at #64 on the liberal list.

I’m surprised to see Clarence Thomas on the list and Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg left off. From my perspective, Thomas is an important figure in the conservative movement but he can’t hold a candle to the heavy influence that Anthony Kennedy holds over the entire Court. He is being wooed at every stage of the litigation process, from the writing of petitions for certiorari to the opinion-writing process. Lawyers want to persuade him to vote with them and his colleagues want to barter with him for votes on their side. He has single handedly given the conservative wing of the Court almost free reign to roll back the clock on important facets of precedent.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on the other hand, is evolving as a powerful dissenter for the liberal wing. Her stirring dissents on topics like equal protection and women’s rights have been cause célèbre for liberal activists, lobbyist, and legislators around the country. If the liberals have any hope of making progress before they can get a clear majority on the Court, Justice Ginsburg is going to have to be on her A-game.

(via Eminent Domain)


1 Response to “Supreme Court Justices Are Influential Political Figures”

  1. 1 AJ

    I am not sure why Ruth Bader was omitted. Is it possible she is far too skewed on too many issues to convince a single camp to follow her?

    Kennedy, while he is influential for the reasons that you suggest, must also be omitted from a list of conservatives or from a list of liberals for those same reasons. That he garners influence by virtue of being courted as a tie-breaker vote in close decisions marks him decidedly as a centrist, even though he has sided with the conservatives more often than not recently.

Leave a Reply





Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Random Posts

  • New OT08 Term Stats : With 43 opinions released, the Court has now released just over half of the opinions it will release for the term. Lets take a look at some ...
  • Advocate Scorecard for OT00-Present: This weekend, I went through all the oral argument transcripts from OT00 through OTO8 and I counted how many times each of the major advocat...
  • Early OT09 Stats: I've finally finished the first edition of my OT09 statistics. First, the links: Term Index and Term Opinion Breakdown. Honestly, the nam...
  • Updated Term Stats: Term Index Vote Breakdown Vote Breakdown Stats --- You can see from the Term Index that Justice Stevens is the most likely author of...
  • Justice Ginsburg and the Future of the Court: One can only hope that Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) horded the tasteless Intrade contract for "Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Be Next Justice to Depar...