Monday, October 18, 2010

Three Female Justices: This Isn't Junior High (or Macbeth)

Lately, there have been various news articles highlighting the fact that Justice Kagan did not join Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor in their recent dissents to denials of certiorari (here) and stay of execution (here).

Ahem.  Why should she?  The three female justices are not a coven or group of junior high girls, where one needs to visit the restroom, all go along.  If Justice Kagan were to agree with colleagues because of their gender, that would be improper.  Per her judicial oath, the deciding factors are "the Constitution and laws of the United States."

One might respond that the news reports were less about gender and more about the significance of Kagan breaking from other liberals.  If that is so, why no headlines about Justice Breyer snubbing Ginsburg and Sotomayor?  He and Kagan were on the same side in the two rulings at issue.

Here's hoping that the novelty of three female justices and "breaking ranks" reporting will pass soon.