Stare Decisis? What Stare Decisis?

After September’s re-argument in Citizens United v. FEC, your blogger wondered how Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. would reconcile overturning two Supreme Court precedents with their humble, anti-judicial activism rhetoric. As the experts I interviewed concluded at the time, Roberts and Alito both left themselves plenty of wiggle room during their confirmation hearings and they certainly took advantage of that today. What’s interesting is how keen the chief justice is to counter accusations that he jettisoned his belief in judicial restraint when it really mattered. The only reason he wrote a 14-page concurring opinion today was to address that point, a fact he openly admits on the first page. And who joined him in that concurrence? Justice Alito, of course.

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Lawrence Hurley

Reporter based in Washington