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What Is David Broder Talking About?

There are a couple of real head-scratchers in his column today about Justice Kennedy, even by Broder's usual standards. First is this:

It was only then--after that implausible scenario--that third-choice Kennedy was called to the White House and introduced by Reagan as his man.

It turned out to be successful beyond Reagan's wildest dreams.

I have some sympathy for the revisionist "Reagan as moderate" school of thought, but...hello!? Are we talking about the same justice here? Somehow I have a feeling that "getting confirmed by a unanimous bipartisan majority and serving as a moderating influence on the Court for twenty years while writing grand, morally superior prose" has more to do with David Broder's wildest dreams than with Ronald Reagan's.

Broder also contends that Kennedy "has had more influence on domestic affairs than any member of Congress." It's pretty hard to compare as intangible a quality as "influence," but I've argued before that the Supreme Court isn't very influential at all in the domestic-policy matters most people care about, and according to Sandy Levinson, actual scholars have come to the same conclusion.

--Josh Patashnik