Ever since John Marshall became chief justice in 1801, Supreme Court opinions have been just that — opinions of the entire Court, not an individual justice.

When a pronoun is used in a majority opinion, tradition dictates that it is supposed to be “we,” even though a single justice writes it. Dissents have used the first person singular, but not majority opinions. This practice, some scholars say, has served to give the Court a stronger voice and authority through the ages.