Anthony Kennedy upon appointment to the court in 1923The 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]

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  1. My mother’s cousin married a NY State Justice. He was driving me somewhere once, and never stopped for a single stop sign. I was 17 and stupid, so I mentioned it. He told me with a gleam in his eye that he didn’t have to because he was a judge. Fuck them all.

  2. So the justices might change their votes for something other than their completely impartial opinion of how a case should be ruled on? Hell, that’s not corruption — corruption is when your wife starts a foundation and collects donations from teabaggers and corporate interests — you know, because if she wasn’t married to a Supreme Court Justice she’d still be a powerful and recognized political force, just like Liz Cheney is.

  3. [re=615414]Extemporanus[/re]: Guess what? Our Wonkette is at the top of the Google pile ifin’ you search “scalia chancres.”

    Hookworm, tapeworms, chancres, maybe this winter Ken should push Wonkette for a Bloggie in the best public health category!!!

  4. [re=615408]weejee[/re]: [re=615414]Extemporanus[/re]: I read the same thing on, so it appears there’s a para sites reporting on the Palin hookworm issue.

  5. Wow – in that picture he looks like a clone of David Brooks. I can imagine him giving opinions on “bo-bo’s” and talking stupid, effusive praise about rich people – oh wait.

  6. It’s nice that, through Scalia and most of the time Kennedy, though occasionally not, Reagan has managed to continue screwing over America from beyond the grave.

  7. [re=615420]weejee[/re]:

    BREAKING NEWS!! Wonkette now occupies First, Second AND (indirectly) Third place in a Google search for Palin hookworms!! Furthermore, if you hit the “show more from Wonkette” and then the “show all from Wonkette” you wind up with EIGHT PAGES. EIGHT MF-ING GOOGLE PAGES, MAN!

    This is going global…no way to contain it even though our Wonk (despite the fucking valuable thing of Google exposure) struggles mightily to keep the lid on. Avante!!

  8. Why is it that pricks live forever (I’m looking at your Scalia)? Anyway i can’t help that every time the topic of SCOTUS comes up I get all kind of proud and weepy about Sonia from the block. BORICUAS!!!!! FTW! Anyway back to yer miserable snark.

  9. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes walked down a street when he was 90 years old or so and reputedly saw an attractive young woman. Holmes turned to his companion and muttered, wistfully, “Ah, to be eighty again.”

    On his 90th birthday he was asked by a journalist the secret of his success and he replied “Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God.”

  10. [re=615440]WriteyWriterton[/re]:

    Do you know how to read the direction of the Supreme Court on any particular case under Chief Umpire John Roberts? Kennedy kisses him on the “strikes” and he kisses Kennedy on the “balls.”

  11. That’s some fine AP, there.

    He could go left more, or right more, or he could shut up more. He could jump on the bench making chicken noises. He could go fetal and start squeaking. He could expose himself to Elena Kagan.

    The point of this AP article? “We have nothing to say about Elena Kegan, so we’re going to speculate pointlessly about someone we have files on.”

  12. I toured the Supreme Court once. While there, I was hoping Justice Kennedy or Ginsberg or Scalia-Thomas would settle a little disagreement at home about whether Fifth Amendment protections extended to non-citizens, specifically to my cat. Luck was with me as all three of those very justices came in the gift shop at that moment. Apparently, it was Justice Souter’s birthday and everyone forgot.

    Before I could ask my question, they got in an argument about whether to buy Souter a “Here comes da judge” gavel (Ginsberg’s choice), or salt and pepper shakers (Scalia-Thomas’s choice). Justice Kennedy called an impromptu court into session. After listening to both sides, he ruled they should give Souter a copy of the Constitution with the Third Amendment cut out. “The Third is a waste of ink,” he declared. “If Souter asks, we’ll just tell him it was about parking spaces or something important.”

    I was always impressed at how Justice Kennedy took control of that volatile gift buying situation. He was quite the activist judge.

    (BTW: Never got to ask my question.)

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