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University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

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Standing At The Crossroads: The Roberts Court In Historical Perspective, Maxwell L. Stearns Jan 2008

Standing At The Crossroads: The Roberts Court In Historical Perspective, Maxwell L. Stearns

Faculty Scholarship

After eleven years, the longest period in Supreme Court history with no change in membership, the Roberts Court commenced in the year 2005 with two new justices. John Roberts replaced William Rehnquist as the seventeenth Chief Justice and Samuel Alito replaced Sandra Day O’Connor as Associate Justice. The conventional wisdom suggests that on the nine-justice Supreme Court, these two appointments have produced a single-increment move, ideologically, to the right. The two Chief Justices occupy roughly the same ideological position. In contrast, whereas O’Connor was generally viewed as occupying the Court’s centrist, or median, position, Alito has instead ...