The unspeakably old Anthony Kennedy has already announced that he will never ever retire or even die, and now important legal scholars have discovered that, with Stevens gone, Kennedy will wield even more power on the Court, because of his extreme oldness. Did you know that just surviving, just waking up every day and saying, “Hmm, I can move all my limbs, and remember my name, and hey, what’s that black robe hanging on the wall, oh that’s right I’m a MOTHERFUCKING SUPREME COURT JUSTICE” is your ticket to power and influence, in Obama’s America? Well, it is!
Here is the deal with being a Supreme Court justice, according to the Associated Press: whoever is the senior-most judge in the majority gets to decide who writes the majority opinion. The Chief Justice is considered the most senior, even when, as is the case with John Roberts, he is only 11 years old. Thus, although Scalia is two years more senior than Kennedy, he almost always votes with Roberts and so doesn’t get to do this very often; however, when Kennedy acts like a liberal traitor from here on in, he’ll be the most senior judge on that end of the 5-4 split, and therefore will be able to get whoever he wants to write opinions, or just write them himself if he feels like it.
Could this be used for mischief? Maybe!
Chief Justice Warren Burger’s colleagues used to complain that he occasionally changed his vote — after the justices declared their positions at their closed-door conferences — just to retain the ability to assign opinions. Justice William Brennan, the court’s senior member for many years, “thought Burger was manipulative in his use of the assigning power,” said University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, who worked for Brennan.
Or maybe it will just make him Kennedy drunk(er) with power!
Perhaps, [Cambridge University historian David] Garrow said, Kennedy might move away from the conservatives in close cases, knowing that disagreeing with them “would put him in the decision maker’s seat.”
Or, he said, Roberts might come to the realization that “he needs to work all the more to keep Kennedy inside the conservative tent.”
Another possibility is that Kennedy might keep an opinion for himself that Stevens would have handed off to another liberal justice. Kennedy might write the same decision more narrowly than Stephen Breyer or Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have, [former Kennedy clerk Michael] Dorf said.
Look for “not kissing Anthony Kennedy’s ass” to be unconstitutional by October. [AP]