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Tuesday, March 21, 2006 

Unanimity Continues

Today, the Supreme Court issued two opinions, both decided 8-0. While there are nine members on the Court, Justice O'Connor's vote in the cases does not count (since she's no longer on the Court), and Justice Alito cannot vote in a case that was argued before he was sworn in.

The first case is US v Grubbs, which involved the constitutionality of an anticipatory search warrant. Here in an opinion by Justice Scalia, the Court unanimously overturned a Ninth Circuit decision authored by Judge Stephen Reinhardt. None of that should be shocking to anyone who follows the Ninth in general and Judge Reinhardt in particular. There was a concurring opinion in regard to part III of the majority opinion. Justice Souter, joined by Justice Stevens and Justice Ginsburg, qualifies and sharpens a few points from part III. The trio warned against the broad statement that a warrant does not to spell out the condition that must exist before the warrant can be executed.

The other case was Merrill Lynch v. Dabit, a securities case. It's 17 pages of a topic that I hate, so I'm not going to read it. This opinion was written by Justice Stevens.

Most Supreme Court cases are unanimously decided, but I'm curious to see how long this keeps going. As a general rule, the most contentious cases are released later in the term. There's a long way to go and many more cases to decide.

now, are you saying that this is a result of Roberts' discussion prior to the hearing of the cases, or is this because they are "easy" or amenable decisions?

I would have to call shenanigans, if you say this is Roberts' doing. But, I will patiently await your response, before getting into the sarcasm and innuendo that I usually fall into with you in debating any point.

I await your response so that I can begin my rant.

I think they were easy cases.

Sorry, you'll have to pick a fight with someone else. Try JDR.

well what happened to your stance that all this unanimity is the result of Roberts' openness and willingness to discuss cases? Have you backed down from that?

Once again, you prove that you read and listen to half of what I say. My point about Roberts was that increased amounts of discussion at conference may lead to different ways of tackling the issues. Ayotte is the best example of that. The Court took a narrow view of the abortion restriction law. They decided to not strike it down entirely as they would under a facial challenge, but to examine it narrowly, as applied.

I am not saying that Roberts is going to charm Stevens, Ginsburg, etc. into striking down Roe, Lawrence, McConnell or any other highly contested cases. I am saying that this narrow focus may produce more instances where statutes survive, minus a few as applied problems.

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