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Saturday, June 03, 2006 

The Hard Part

As this term comes to a close, Chief Justice John Roberts warns that there may be rough waters ahead. Straight from the mouth of our fearless leader...
"I feel at this point like the fellow who jumped off the Empire State Building, passed the 50th floor and said, 'So far, so good,'" Roberts said recently to a group of lawyers. "But the hard part is coming up."
Generally, this term's decisions have been fairly dull. But as one would expect, the more difficult cases don't come down until the end of the term. I'm very eager to see what the Court does with the Texas redistricting case, the Clean Water Act case, and of course the Hamdan War on Terror case. I feel very certain how most of the Justices will vote (most, not all). Many of them have enough of a record on these issues that it's pretty easy to predict these things.

What I think will be intriguing will be the written opinions of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito in these cases. It's one thing when you are writing for a unanimous court on an easy legal issue. It's another thing when you're penning a 5-4 majority that's got to deal with a handful of dissenting opinions too.

Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein is quoted in the CNN article saying, "There are no shrinking violets on that court." I think that the Chief Justice has proven that so far. He's really taken the bull by the legal horns and done a fabulous job as Chief. His written opinions are clear and concise (or as Prof. Althouse likes to say "crisp"). He's a penetrating questioner at oral argument. I'm eager to see what Justice Alito does. I'm fairly confident that we will see the same Sam Alito that sat on the Third Circuit. And that will make me quite pleased. I can't see what the Court hands down next week.

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