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The Most Dangerous Justice Rides into the Sunset

22 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2007 Last revised: 7 Dec 2007

Paul H. Edelman

Vanderbilt University - Law School

James Ming Chen

Michigan State University - College of Law


In this essay, our third and last in a series, we employ our previously developed techniques to measure the power of the Justices in the Rehnquist Court over its full 11 year run. Once again, Justice Kennedy rises to the top of our rankings, as he had done earlier. Our methods identify Justices Souter, Breyer and Ginsburg as being notable either for their influence or lack thereof. In addition, we rejoin the debate on the connection between being the median justice and being the most powerful one. We question whether even the most sophisticated methods of finding the median justice are adequate to the task of assessing power on the Court.

Keywords: voting behavior, elections, policy, Supreme Court, median justice

JEL Classification: KOO

Suggested Citation

Edelman, Paul H. and Chen, James Ming, The Most Dangerous Justice Rides into the Sunset. Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 24, p. 299, 2007; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 07-32; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 07-35; University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series. Available at SSRN:

Paul Edelman

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-322-0990 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)

James Chen (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

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