Singular vs. Plural
Let me tell you about another juicy detail from Bushrod Washington’s “lost” journal. The journal contains his draft opinion in Green v. Biddle, in which the Court invalidated two state statutes from Kentucky that dealt with property rights. At the close of an opinion on this hotly contested issue, he wrote:
“[W]e hold ourselves answerable to God, our consciences, and our country, to decide this question according to the dictates of our best judgment, be the consequences of the decision what they may.”
In the draft opinion, here’s how this passage reads:
“I hold myself answerable to God, my conscience, and my country, to decide this question according to the dictates of my best judgment, be the consequences of the decision what they may.”
What does this difference mean? Was the draft opinion originally only for Washington (as a concurrence or dissent)? Did he just write drafts in the singular person until he received enough joins to make a majority? I’ll keep digging to find out.