U.S. Supreme Court

Scalia Edges Out Roberts, Votes With Majority in Every Decision This Term

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Justice Antonin Scalia is having a good year, while Justice Anthony M. Kennedy isn’t quite the influential swing voter he used to be.

Those conclusions can be drawn from statistics released today (PDF) by SCOTUSblog. They show that Scalia is the only justice to vote with the majority in all 17 decisions on the merits issued so far this term. Kennedy, on the other hand, has already sided with the dissent in two cases—equaling his total number of dissents in the court’s last term.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has voted in dissent just once, writing a dissent that Kennedy joined on Wednesday in Danforth v. Minnesota. The majority decision had allowed a former Minnesota lawyer convicted of child molestation to argue that the state supreme court should exclude a tape by his 6-year-old accuser. The two dissenters said state courts should be bound by U.S. Supreme Court rulings on whether its criminal rulings are retroactive—meaning the convicted ex-lawyer can’t contest the evidence.

The blog warns that its results are “highly preliminary.” The court has so far issued opinions in only about 25 percent of its cases.

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