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    08.30.18 In New York Law Journal Column, Professor Robin Effron Offers Doubt on Justice Roberts’ Possible Centrist Lean
    Robin Effron

    In an Outside Counsel column that appeared in the August 30 edition of the New York Law Journal, Professor Robin Effron cautioned those who might see Chief Justice John Roberts as the new centrist or “swing vote” on a Court that would include President Trump’s nominee D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Effron points to the Chief Justice’s record on cases concerning “the small stuff,” or legal technicalities, as proof of his decidedly conservative leanings.

    Despite “a few key votes…such as his majority opinion upholding Obamacare,” and the perception that the Chief Justice is “deeply committed to protecting the institution of the Supreme Court itself,” Effron explained that one need only look at cases focused on the “rather dull-sounding area of law called civil procedure” to know a leftward lean is quite unlikely. These cases could involve a dispute over where one can sue a railway or whether a construction company can force a court to transfer a case from one state to another. While such cases may sound dry, Effron wrote, they are “the backbone of our ability to vindicate important public and private rights in court, and a conservative Court could bury a sharp rightward turn in the procedural weeds.”

    She urged individuals who care about access to justice to raise the profile of such cases or turn instead “to Congress, procedural rule makers, and other legislative bodies to pass legislation that keeps Americans’ abilities to vindicate our rights in state and federal court from disappearing into a morass of ‘mere technicalities.’”

    Effron is an expert in Civil Procedure and Comparative Contract Law. She 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 article “Ousted: The New Dynamics of Privatized Procedure and Judicial Discretion,” appeared in the January 2018 issue of the Boston University Law Review.   

    Read the column here