Jewish World Review June 18, 2002 / 8 Tamuz, 5762
He won the nickname "Flipper" after switching his vote in the 1992 abortion rights case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, where he sided with the liberal side of a 5-4 split. Kennedy also joined the liberal majority in Romer v. Evans, a Colorado case dealing with a state constitutional amendment that would have barred anti-discrimination laws for gays. In his dissent, Justice Scalia blasted the Kennedy majority opinion as "long on emotive utterance and...short on relevant legal citation." And he was being charitable.
Justice Kennedy is also known for his unfortunate tendency toward public hand-wringing: "Sometimes you don't know if you're Caesar crossing the Rubicon or Captain Queeg cutting your own tow line," he told the California Lawyer magazine the day before the Court handed down the Casey decision. Yet despite some grand departures from a conservative jurisprudential outlook, Justice Kennedy has more often that not voted the right way in close criminal, affirmative action, and state rights decisions. Let's not forget he voted with the bare majority to stop the Florida recount in Bush v. Gore.
Justice Kennedy was confirmed in 1988 for the seat after the failed
nominations of federal appeals court judges Robert Bork and Doug Ginsberg.
In 14 years he hasn't proven to be the Justice that either of those men
probably would have been had they been confirmed. In an ideal world,
Scalia would be my choice for Chief Justice, but with a Democratic Senate
that's about as likely as the President nominating me for a seat on the
Court. Whatever the White House decides, remember the mistakes of the
father -- No more Souters!
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06/11/02: Intelligence coup, with much more to do