Justice Anthony Kennedy as a "moderate-conservative"?

According to Georgetown's Supreme Court Institute, six times he made the difference in 5 to 4 votes on the conservative side and 4 times on the liberal side. I am not sure that I quite agree with their count because Kennedy issued a divided opinion in hte Texas redistricting case, where he argued that there was discrimination against Hispanics in one district. Rather than a 6 to 4 division, possibly it should count as 5.5 to 4.5 or 5.75 to 4.25? In any case, Kennedy appears more moderate than conservative.

In the 17 cases during the 2005-2006 term that were decided by five-vote majorities, Kennedy was on the winning side 12 times, more than any other justice, according to figures compiled by Georgetown's Supreme Court Institute.

In six of those cases, Kennedy voted with the conservative bloc, made up of Roberts, Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. As a result, the court upheld most of Texas's Republican-drafted redistricting plan, restored the death penalty in Kansas, and ruled that police do not have to throw out evidence they gather in illegal no-knock searches.

But four times, Kennedy, a 1988 appointee of President Ronald Reagan, defected to the liberal justices, John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

As a result, the court not only struck down Bush's military commissions. It also ruled that the police need permission from both occupants to search a home without a warrant, gave a Tennessee death-row inmate a chance to win a new trial, and said that Texas violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of Latino Democrats in one district. (Twice Kennedy was part of mixed left-right coalitions.) . . . .


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