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Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Abstract

Drawing primarily on scholarship concerning legal motivation and the decisionmaking of Supreme Court median justices, we use Justice Kennedy’s opinions as a case study to examine how institutional position on the Supreme Court allows median justices to look beyond policy goals and consider legal goals and motivations in their decision-making. We argue that Kennedy’s unique position on the Court as the median justice allows him to pursue legal considerations, including his seemingly idiosyncratic conception of dignity. Kennedy provides an example of how median justices can use their position to not only pursue policy and political outcomes, but also legal considerations through attempts to shape legal doctrine.

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