“With the possible exception of Ruth Ginsburg”

In an interview with Adam Liptak, Justice Stevens stated that

every one of the dozen justices appointed to the court since 1971, including himself, was more conservative than his or her predecessor. “We’ll wait and see to see if the most recent change fits that,” he said of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who joined the court last year. “But prior to Sonia’s joining the court that was true with the possible exception of Ruth Ginsburg.”

This seems largely correct in diagnosing the trend: Breyer is more conservative than Blackmun, Scalia more conservative than Berger, and so on. But I would think that Justice Ginsburg merits more than simply the “possible exception” label. She replaced Justice Byron White, whose record is substantially more conservative than hers (among other things, Justice White authored the majority opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick, and he dissented in both Roe v. Wade and Miranda). “Possible exception,” indeed.

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1 Response

  1. Mike Zimmer says:

    Justice White, while conservative on many issues, particularly later in his time on the Court, was, for example, liberal on issues involving unionization. Justice Ginsburg also has a less than liberal side in some business, IP areas.