FIRST ONE @ ONE FIRST

Conservative Convergence = Liberal Freak-Out?

Posted in Anticipation, Clairvoyance by Mike Sacks on January 19, 2010

Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSBlog predicts that Citizens United will come down either tomorrow or Monday morning:

As we have previously noted, the Court will issue opinions tomorrow.  The next opinion day is Monday, January 25.  After that, the Court is not scheduled to issue opinions until Tuesday, February 23.  The month-long gap results from the break between the Court’s January and February sittings.

The Court could add an additional opinion date.  That would have been extremely unlikely under Chief Justice Rehnquist.  But in a variety of small ways, the Roberts Court has taken a more pragmatic approach that deviates from certain traditions.

Nonetheless, the Court is an institution that does rest on tradition, and it will have a strong institutional preference for sticking to its usual calendar.  The Court is also well aware of the public interest in having the campaign finance case decided, as illustrated by the fact that it held oral argument in late summer, outside the usual argument calendar.

If Goldstein is right, and if the Court holds to its expected 5-4 conservative victory despite doubts created by the decision’s delay, expect a left-wing freak-out.

First, a Republican takes Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat tonight, destroying the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority and perhaps with it Kennedy’s dream of health care reform.

Next, should the Court strike down McCain-Feingold‘s restrictions on corporate campaign expenditures, expect liberal commentators to reveal doomsday visions of insurance companies emptying their coffers in the 2010 campaign on a multimedia effort to smear all incumbents supportive of health care reform as fascists, socialists, and communists.

That’s a vicious one-two punch from our Legislative and Judicial branches.  But should that combination come to pass, expect the Executive Branch to stay cool, adjust to the circumstances, and move ahead.   There will be neither war nor implosion.

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