The Court last week decided to end months of speculation in Louisiana v. Kennedy when it struck down a motion for rehearing and simply issued a revised opinion. The move is not unprecedented but it is extremely unusual and done only in very specific circumstances. The modified opinion can be found here.

Justice Kennedy wrote an order discussion his alterations to the opinion (here) and Justice Scalia wrote a statement in response (here.) Justice Kennedy was joined by each of the four members who had joined his original majority opinion and Justice Scalia was joined by the Chief Justice.

It is important to note that in his statement accompanying the dismissal of the motion for rehearing Justice Scalia notes that he had voted against rehearing because “the views of the American people on the death penalty for child rape were, to tell the truth, irrelevant to the majority’s decision in this case.” Only Justices Alito and Thomas had voted in favor of rehearing.

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