Assigning DIssents?

Kermit Roosevelt krooseve at law.upenn.edu
Mon Sep 24 14:46:31 PDT 2007


Certainly there's no formal rule.  And what Mark describes is probably closer to the actual interaction between the Justices--I think volunteering still occurs and that the assignment of dissents is less formal than that of majorities.  I do remember both waiting in hopes that we'd be assigned a particular dissenting opinion and trying to urge Justice Souter to express enthusiasm about writing a particular one.  I don't know exactly how the conversations went.  My recollection differs from Mark's description only in that I don't think that the first step was waiting for a volunteer--I think the selection of the author happened relatively quickly.  I don't remember anyone ever declining to write, so I'm not sure how much latitude there is on that.
 
Kermit Roosevelt
Professor of Law
University of Pennsylvania Law School
3400 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia Pa 19104
215.746.8775

________________________________

From: matthewhpolsci at aol.com [mailto:matthewhpolsci at aol.com]
Sent: Mon 9/24/2007 4:57 PM
To: Kermit Roosevelt
Subject: Re: Assigning DIssents?


Professor Roosevelt answers clearly.  One more question.  Is this by understood custom or is there a formal rule, and if the latter where is it?


Matthew Holden, Jr.

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Matthew Holden, Jr.
Henry L. and Grace M. Doherty Professor Emeritus of Politics, University of Virginia

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-----Original Message-----
From: Kermit Roosevelt <krooseve at law.upenn.edu>
To: Steven Jamar <stevenjamar at gmail.com>
Cc: Conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Sent: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 3:20 pm
Subject: RE: Assigning DIssents?


That is the process.  The senior dissenting justice assigns a dissent, though anyone else who wants to write one can, just as anyone in the majority who wants to can write a concurrence.
 
Kermit Roosevelt
Professor of Law
University of Pennsylvania Law School
3400 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia Pa 19104
215.746.8775

________________________________

From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu on behalf of Steven Jamar
Sent: Mon 9/24/2007 4:14 PM
Cc: Conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: Assigning DIssents?


I look forward to hearing from someone who really knows, but I thought
this was always the process.  Chief, if in majority, assigns the
opinion to someone in the majority, or if not in the majority, the
senior justice assigns.  And same rule for dissents.

But this just what I've been told, not something I otherwise know.

Steve


On 9/24/07, dynia at loyno.edu <dynia at loyno.edu> wrote:
> Yesterday's New York Times Magazine had a profile of Justice
> Stevens by Jeffrey Rosen. In that article, Stevens is quoted
> several times as saying he assigned dissents to other
> justices in the minority. Am I missing something here? Since
> when did the senior justice in the minority "assign"
> dissents. Did he mean he suggested that someone write a
> dissent? I'm confused.
>
> Phil Dynia
> Chair, Political Science Department
> Loyola University New Orleans
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--
Prof. Steven Jamar
Howard University School of Law
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