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The Supreme Court Term That Was

Over at OpinionJournal, James Taranto takes a look at the Supreme Court term that was. Chief Justice Roberts has said that he struggles for unanimity or near unanimity on the court, yet in many key decisions at the end of this term the court was fractured, with as many as six separate opinions on key cases such as Texas redistricting, Vermont's campaign-finance limits and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

Can Roberts's judicial minimalism -- his adage is "if it's not necessary to decide more . . . it is necessary not to decide more" -- accomplish anything? Taranto notes that minimalism can lead to a lack of clear guidance for lower courts and the public in general. Better, perhaps, to set out bright-line tests, as is Justice Scalia's wont. And since the court is still fractured among liberal, conservative and swing justices, none are about to lay down arms for the sake of unanimity.

In the end, Taranto figures things won't improve until conservatives get "maybe another new justice or two."