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Justice Kennedy Played Crucial Rule in High Court’s Term

Publication Date: 
June 28, 2011
Wall Street Journal
Nathan Koppel

Dean Larry Kramer is quoted by Nathan Koppel in this Wall Street Journal article on the new conservative direction the Supreme Court has taken during its 2010-2011 term.

The scorecard for the Supreme Court’s 2010-2011 term has now been tallied, and it appears the court’s conservative majority can claim an overall victory.

Here’s an analysis of the court’s term from WSJ’s Jess Bravin, who notes that Justice Anthony Kennedy played a particularly important role, joining the court’s conservative bloc in some high-impact cases.

Most notably, Kennedy was in the majority of the court’s rulings in the Wal-Mart and AT&T cases, which made it more difficult to bring class actions. (Click here and here for LB background on those cases.) Overall, 16 cases this term, about one-fifth of the total, were decided by a 5-4 vote, with Kennedy joining the majority 14 times, according to WSJ.


“Change on the Supreme Court happens in long slow arcs, but the direction of this arc seems pretty clear,” said Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer. “The court has been moving in a pretty strongly conservative direction, and I don’t expect it to change.”