It’s Anthony Kennedy’s Country; We’re Just Living In It

Posted by | June 26, 2012 13:56 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

No health care decision but quite a day at the Supreme Court.  And the deciding vote in all three cases was Justice Kennedy who has now arguably become the most important man in the country.  First, he wrote the opinion that largely struck down the heinous immigration law in Arizona:

Instead, the decision was largely (but not entirely) a victory for the federal government:  the Court held that three of the four provisions of the law at issue in the case cannot not go into effect at all because they are “preempted,” or trumped, by federal immigration laws.  And while the Court allowed one provision – which requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone whom they detain or arrest before they release that person – to go into effect, even here it left open the possibility that this provision would eventually be held unconstitutional if not applied narrowly in Arizona.

He also provided the deciding vote in the decision to prohibit state legislatures from requiring life without parole for children under 18 (individual judges can still sentence them to life without parole).  But before liberals get too happy, he also provided the deciding vote reaffirming Citizens United.  As we all wait for the health care decision on Thursday, the real question is what does Justice Kennedy think?

(For great coverage of all these decisions and perspectives on Thursday, check out SCOTUSblog including this great piece on Justice Scalia foaming at the mouth over the immigration decision).

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Copyright 2012 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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