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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

In what areas of law will the new appointee have the most impact?

The SCOTUS Nomination Blog has a continuing discussion of which areas are most likely to see change with a new Justice. One case that takes on new importance is a New Hampshire case -- Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, dealing with parental consent restrictions on abortion. Previously the Court had held that all abortion restrictions must have an exception for the health of the mother. Will a new Court overrule that principle? Could be a test for how strictly a new Court will construe stare decisis. A broad application of stare decisis will mean fewer reversals of prior caselaw, while a strict interpretation will mean more reversals. As SCOTUS points out, stare decisis is more likely to be rejected in constitutional cases, as opposed to statutory cases, because in those cases Congress does not have the power to legislate around the decision.

The blog also cites a piece by Rick Hasen in the New Republic (subscribe for free for the full article) discussing how a new Justice could mean surprising changes in election law, frustrating Voter Rights activists.


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