When Justice Sandra Day O’Connor finally retires from serving on the U.S. Supreme Court, the high court’s center of gravity unquestionably will shift. And some other justice will become the Court’s swinger — that is, the key swing vote.
For reasons explained in my essay from last week, I don’t expect Samuel A. Alito Jr. to become the Court’s newest centrist. Indeed, the smart money is on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to be the Court’s swing vote going forward. Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer are all seen as at least somewhat more liberal than Kennedy, while Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Alito will generally line up to Kennedy’s right.
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