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In New York Law Journal, Professor Robin Effron Cautions That Chief Justice Roberts’ Commitment to Judicial Integrity May Lead to Further Division


In a New York Law Journal commentary, Professor Robin Effron, an expert in civil procedure and comparative contract law, argues that Chief Justice John Roberts’ commitment to maintaining institutional integrity may lead to increasing politicization of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Many centrists and progressives pinned their hopes for ideological balance on Roberts’ apparent desire to preserve the court’s image as an apolitical institution,” Effron writes. “But paradoxically, explicit calls for the court to consider institutional integrity are themselves contributing to the increased polarization of the court.” She foresees that “litigants and commentators will only increase vocal and direct appeals about how each case or issue will affect the court as an institution. It will be up to Justice Roberts to ensure that such debates are an enhancement rather than a distraction, and that the issue of institutional integrity does not take on such a life of its own that it swallows the merits’ questions whole.”

In a previous commentary for the New York Law Journal, Effron posited that Roberts would not be the centrist vote on the Court that many liberals hoped he would be based on his decisions in cases focused on procedure rather than policy.  

Effron serves as co-director of the Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law and editor of the Civil Procedure and Federal Courts Blog for the Law Professors Blog Network. Her recent articles “The Lost Story of Notice and Personal Jurisdiction,” appeared in the 2018 issue of NYU Annual Survey of American Law, and “Ousted: The New Dynamics of Privatized Procedure and Judicial Discretion,” appeared in the January 2018 issue of the Boston University Law Review.

Read the article here.