The Power of Getting Along

I have always said that a Centrist Party, or a group of independent legislators with centrist tendencies, would derive their power from being the swing votes.  Anton Scalia does not affect Supreme Court decisions.  Important cases are often decided by Anthony Kennedy, since he is capable of joining either the court's liberals or conservatives as a fifth vote.

But now this Slate profile of Elena Kagan suggests that she may play a similar role, by virtue of unique charm.  In any event, our governing institutions depend on building bridges, not standing resolutely on different sides of a chasm, as the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are currently doing.

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commented 2013-10-15 08:10:30 -0600 · Flag
It is often said thought that the current makeup of SCOTUS is highly polarized. I’m not so sure. I think there is actually an emerging centrist bloc consisting largely of Kennedy at dead center, Kagan at center-left, and Roberts at center-right. The three of them are in a prime position to guide the court along a more centrist course.

To comment on the rest of SCOTUS, there are two ideologues in Breyer’s constitutional pragmatism and Alito’s constitutional originalism, while Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Scalia and Thomas are the reliable partisans of their respective camps.

All in all, SCOTUS is a fairly diverse grouping of poles.