Monday, June 28, 2010

Justice Ginsburg's Sharp Tone in Christian Legal Society

Mark Tushnet

As I was reading Justice Ginsburg's opinion in Christian Legal Society, I was struck with how uncharacteristically sharp her criticisms of Justice Alito's dissent were ("Indulges in make-believe," "warped"). It's almost as if these parts of the opinion had been written by Justice Scalia. Then I got to the final footnote, saying that the dissent "impugn[s] the veracity of a distinguished legal scholar and a well respected school administrator," and I understood (I think). The scholar/administrator is Mary Kay Kane, whose scholarly field is civil procedure, one of the fields in which Justice Ginsburg labored as an academic. I assume, without any inside knowledge of this, that Justice Ginsburg has had personal contacts with former Dean Kane, and found particularly offensive the aspersions Justice Alito cast on her sworn testimony.