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Supreme Conflict

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Supreme Conflict Supreme Conflict, by Jan Crawford Greenburg changed my perception of the Supreme Court in a number of ways. Greenberg analyses the struggle for power of the Supreme Court over the past 30 years. The book illustrates the dynamics and alliances formed within the court and how they affected the rulings in which the court carried out. Prior to reading this book, I had never truly considered the importance of prior individual rulings on the political parties. One case which has been endlessly debated since its ruling, Roe Vs. Wade, which ruled that women have the right to have an abortion, has frequently been the determining factor on whether or not the nominated Justice would be voted through the Senate. For Chief Justice Roberts, the Bush administration had to develop a response to any questions regarding Roe Vs. Wade that would satisfy both parties. Additionally, it was very surprising to see how some of the Justices interpretation of the law and the constitution changed over time. Justice Sandra O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy are two Justices who clearly shifted from the right into a more neutral positions within the court. Interestingly, these more neutrally positioned Justices unpredictability makes them more powerful, because the more predictable Justices often have to craft their opinions to win the vote of the more independent parties. I also found the frequent conflicts between Justices to be somewhat surprising. Prior to reading this book, my knowledge of the Supreme Court and law in general was fairly limited. I had not considered how different Justices could interpret the Constitution so differently. Thus, it was interesting to me that so many of the courts rulings came down to a fifth vote. Additionally, the importance of how each opinion is worded is incredible. In several cases, the Justices changed their votes or refused to sign on to another's opinion simply because of one sentence or paragraph that they viewed as controversial. Lastly, the impact of each nomination a president’s legacy is much more considerable than I had previously thought. The President and his administration must consider much more than a candidates ability and political views when selecting their nomination, and for many presidents, they have failed in their selections. President H. W. Bush’s legacy is plagued by his inability to move the court to the right by first nominating the undoubtedly liberal David Souter and then nominating Clarence Thomas, who’s overly republican views pushed independents to the left. Conversely, the younger George W. Bush, who by many was considered to be a sub-par president, can be credited with successfully pushing the Supreme Court to the right. A task the his father and President Reagan were never able to accomplish.…...

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