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Constitutional Law

Constitution

University of Kentucky

1991

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"I Vote This Way Because I'M Wrong": The Supreme Court Justice As Epimenides, John M. Rogers Jan 1991

"I Vote This Way Because I'M Wrong": The Supreme Court Justice As Epimenides, John M. Rogers

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Possibly the most unsettling phenomenon in the Supreme Court's 1988 term was Justice White's decision to vote contrary to his own exhaustively stated reasoning in Pennsylvania v. Union Gas Co. His unexplained decision to vote against the result of his own analysis lends support to those who argue that law, or at least constitutional law, is fundamentally indeterminate. Proponents of the indeterminacy argument sometimes base their position on the allegedly inescapable inconsistency of decisions made by a multi-member court. There is an answer to the inconsistency argument, but it founders if justices sometimes vote, without explanation, on the ...