July 08, 2005

Jason Samuel: Precise Imprecision

by Guest Contributor

My post entitled "O'Connor-ed" did not receive any comments, unfortunately. What I attempted to point out there was the imprecision of much of the language used by those discussing Justice O'Connor's retirement and whom the president should nominate. Since then there has been commentary making the same argument. Here are some worth mentioning:

Todd Zywicki's post at VC entitled "I Guess It Depends on Your Reference Point" points to Bruce Ackerman's piece on July 7th in the L.A. Times:
Ackerman wrote:

In retrospect, Souter and Thomas have turned out very different. Souter has developed into a moderate conservative in the tradition of John Marshall Harlan, the great dissenter to many of the activist decisions of the Warren court, but a firm believer in the right to privacy and due process of law.

Zywicki replied, "Um, yeah, David Souter--definitely a 'moderate conservative.'"

Orin Kerr at VC posted:

Lots of editorials and opinion pieces are being penned about the future of the Supreme Court these days, and it occurs to me that all of this writing is terribly inefficient. We could condense most of the different editorials and opinion pieces into a single essay, with one caveat: you just need to insert the proper words depending on whether the authors are liberal or conservative.

Kerr tried an experiment where he "bracketed sections containing the word or phrase to insert for liberal authors followed after the slash by the word or phrase to insert for conservative authors."

"Activism and Federalism" - Balkinization
Jack Balkin comments on a NYT's op/ed piece, which was about judicial activism.  Balkin points out something worth noting, which is the imprecision of the phrase "judicial activist."  This is because it can be defined in a way advantageous to diverse judicial philosophies/persuasions.

"Judical Activism vs. Judicial Activity" - Ex Post
Thomas More, an author at Ex Post, comments on Balkin's post on activism.  As is usually the case, Ex Post doesn't disappoint, so visit regularly.

"Original Meaning and Original Applications: A Response to Balkin " - The Right Coast
Mike Rappaport, as the title says, responds to a post by Professor Balkin on originalism.

July 8, 2005 12:25 AM | TrackBack
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