Monday, March 19, 2012

Breaking News -- Supreme Court Justice Kennedy appeared on CNN in an unprecedented interview

Justice Anthony Kennedy appeared on CNN Thursday, March, 15th
By: Emily Chassman and Naomi Bernstein

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy appeared on the CNN nightly news in an unprecedented interview, which has received questioning and backlash from the public.

The Supreme Court is designed to be as removed as possible from public opinion, and the details of a particular case should remain classified until the decisions are released. By appearing on national television, Justice Kennedy jeopardized these two vital aspects of the Supreme Court. 

Justices do act independently, and lately, Kennedy, who may be nearing his retirement, has been appearing in more public situations. However, with the Supreme Court hearing and decision on Fisher v. University of Texas, an affirmative action case, less than a week away, this appearance was a risk.

During the interview, Kennedy commented on the precedent for FisherGrutter v. Bollinger.

In that case, the University of Michigan Law School did not admit Barbara Grutter, and it admitted to using race as a factor in its decisions as a “compelling interest in achieving diversity among its student body”. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Courtruled that the Equal Protection Clause does not prohibit the Law School's use of race in admissions decisions to create a diverse community that yields academic benefits.

“The two cases are essentially the same,” Kennedy said, referring to Grutter and Fisher. Justice Kennedy voted against the majority in the previous case.

Kennedy has been called “the swing voter” in this case, a moderate-conservative judge whose vote could go either way and determine the outcome of the case. His statement on the similarity between Grutter and Fisher suggests that he may vote in the same direction, which would make affirmative action in college admissions illegal.

Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as the other six justices hearing the case, have declined to comment on the interview.  CNN will report if any justice decides to comment on Justice Kennedy's appearance. #

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