Supreme Court dissents and rejoinders, with respect and disrespect

Supreme Court exchanges between justices are showing increasing tension in the form of dissenting and concurring opinions, as seen this term with strong exchanges particularly between members of the conservative super-majority and the court’s liberal justices.

Disagreeing with respect: Even in disagreement, there are instances when exchanges between justices remain respectful.
* Justice Elena Kagan’s dissent over Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion related to the Biden student loan forgiveness program led to a respectful exchange on the court’s role in governance.
* Despite arguing that the court overstepped its duties, Justice Kagan noted that her critique was not personal, nor did it disparage those in disagreement.

Tensions flare: However, not all exchanges keep respectful tones.
* In the affirmative action case, Justice Clarence Thomas launched a personal attack against Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson in his concurring opinion, differing strongly from his tone when rebutting Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion in the same case.

Shadow docket dissent: Unusual dissents also continue to occur.
* In a “Shadow Docket” case related to the abortion pill Mifeprex, Justice Alito issued a dissent, alleging that the FDA had been “leveraging” lower court decisions during the pandemic, and criticising the Biden administration’s handling of these decisions.

Justice Gorsuch’s dissent: One particularly poignant dissent was Justice Gorsuch’s reflection on the court’s refusal to assess Navajo tribe’s water rights in the Colorado River under an 1868 treaty.
* Justice Gorsuch voiced his disappointment with how the federal government has handled the case, likening it to the frustration of standing in the wrong line at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

View original article on NPR

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