FauxPolitik

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Free the Campaign Finance Seven!: I just thought with all the howls of free speech being trampled we should have a headline that mirrored the sentiment. Anyway, as usual, Volokh is all over the muthafu*a and is already formulating his attack. But, I thought this was particularly funny. See, when appellate courts render a decision, it is almost never 9-0 on all the issues before the court. Usually, in any given appeal there are 5-6 legal issues (with any criminal or civil action, the government/plaintiff is always bringing mulitiple causes of action in case one or two don't stick). On appeal, the appellant is usually going to appeal as many as he/she can to increase his/her chances.

So, when an opinion comes down, you'll have mulitiple judges coming down on different issues in different ways. You craft a "majority" by figuring out the maximum number of judges who can agree on any given issue to a sufficient point to declare such a majority. If that sounds confusing, well, that's why they spend weeks on it in law school.

In the campaign finance matter, it's almost indecipherable:
STEVENS and O.CONNOR, JJ., delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to BCRA Titles I and II, in which SOUTER, GINSBURG, and BREYER, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to BCRA Titles III and IV, in which O.CONNOR, SCALIA, KENNEDY, and SOUTER, JJ., joined, in which STEVENS, GINSBURG, and BREYER, JJ., joined except with respect to BCRA §305, and in which THOMAS, J., joined with respect to BCRA §§304, 305, 307, 316, 319, and 403(b). BREYER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to BCRA Title V, in which STEVENS, O.CONNOR, SOUTER, and GINSBURG, JJ., joined. SCALIA, J., filed an opinion concurring with respect to BCRA Titles III and IV, dissenting with respect to BCRA Titles I and V, and concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part with respect to BCRA Title II. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring with respect to BCRA Titles III and IV, except for BCRA §§311 and 318, concurring in the result with respect to BCRA §318, concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part with respect to BCRA Title II, and dissenting with respect to BCRA Titles I, V, and §311, in which opinion SCALIA, J., joined as to Parts I, II.A, and II.B. KENNEDY, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part with respect to BCRA Titles I and II, in which REHNQUIST, C. J., joined, in which SCALIA, J., joined except to the extent the opinion upholds new FECA §323(e) and BCRA §202, and in which THOMAS, J., joined with respect to BCRA §213. REHNQUIST, C. J., filed an opinion dissenting with respect to BCRA Titles I and V, in which SCALIA and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion dissenting with respect to BCRA §305, in which GINSBURG and BREYER, JJ., joined.
I pity the poor law clerk who had to figure out that paragraph.

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