Swiping Left: Tim Ryan Promises to Impose Multiple Litmus Tests on Judicial Nominees

For decades, politicians in both parties agreed that it was anathema in our legal system to impose a litmus test on judicial nominees. Now, however, litmus tests appear the rage, particularly on the left. Indeed, in this week’s Ohio debate, senatorial candidate Tim Ryan (D) outdid his colleagues in not just promising one but multiple litmus tests for judicial nominees.

“I will have a litmus test on Roe v Wade, I’ll have a litmus test on the same-sex marriage, I’ll have a litmus test on birth control. We can’t keep going down this road of taking away rights.”

Instead, Ryan was promising to continue to go down the road of confirmation based on promises on future votes by a judge or justice.  While it no doubt thrilled his base, it should appall anyone who cares about the integrity of our judicial system. Indeed, Ryan was taking a position adamantly opposed by liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

While it was clear that presidents selected (and senators confirmed) judges with similar views on subjects like abortion, the suggestion of a threshold litmus was quickly and sometimes heatedly denied. President Barack Obama insisted that “we shouldn’t apply a strict litmus test and the most important thing in any judge is their capacity to provide fairness and justice to the American people.

In all honesty, past presidents have promised to appoint liberal or conservative justices and suggested that they would want pro-life or pro-choice nominees. However, they generally denied actual litmus tests where nominees were asked to confirm their position on future cases.

In many cases, it was obvious that the past legal views of nominees like Elena Kagan or Amy Coney Barrett would push them to different sides on issues like abortion. That was the case with with the late Justice Ginsburg, who was an advocate for women’s rights before joining the bench. Nevertheless, she is credited with a “rule” in confirmation to refuse to answer questions of she would vote on future cases as an assault on judicial integrity.

I have previously been critical of the “Ginsburg rule” as a barrier to getting nominees to discuss the substance of their jurisprudential views.  However, Ryan is suggesting that he would demand advance assurances on voting on issues from abortion to birth control and same-sex marriage. He would not consider a nominee with opposing views. That is a true litmus test “in which a single factor is decisive.”

When asked for his position on any litmus tests, Republican J.D. Vance gave the traditional and correct answer. He said that he would not impose such a test on abortion for a nominee because he wanted to focus on who would be “a good judge.”

One can disagree with a nominee on their jurisprudential views but still consider them qualified. Indeed, one of the reasons that I have argued for retiring the Ginsburg rule is to allow members to understand the basis for such interpretations. That includes exploring the consistency with a nominee’s other interpretations to establish that legal not political considerations are driving the analysis.

Ryan indicated that he would bar anyone with any opposing view on such issues. He is not interested in explanations, only commitments on future cases. He would not be alone in such an attitude. Senators like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have declared an absolute litmus test on abortion so that, no matter how qualified a nominee may be, she will vote entirely on the failure to promise to vote for abortion as a justice.

In 2020, Senate Democrats veered dangerously toward such litmus tests in demanding that Amy Coney Barrett confirm her likely vote on pending issues ranging from ObamaCare to abortion rights. Indeed, some senators said they would vote against her if she did not expressly confirm that she would vote to preserve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and uphold Roe v. Wade. Barrett correctly refused to do so.

Notably, while Barrett did vote against Roe v. Wade, the Democrats were wrong in one of their litmus tests.  A number of senators insisted that Barrett was nominated to kill the ACA. As I wrote at the time, it was an absurd claim and the pending case was not a serious threat to the ACA and, if anything, Barrett was most likely to vote for its preservation — which she ultimately did.

Ryan’s answer shows the danger of threshold litmus-test politics. With these three threshold tests, there will be demands for others. What about gender identity, gun control, immigration and other issues? Different groups will cry foul if their issues are not weighed equally with these other issues in threshold conditions.

That is the slippery slope of litmus tests. Ryan will soon find himself sending a long list of demands for nominees to commit themselves in advance on voting as a condition for his vote. Senate confirmations are not some Tinder date where you literally swipe left to reject those who do not meet threshold expectations.

The danger is that justices and judges will become mere extensions of the political process, judicial cutouts for politicians controlling entry on to the courts. What is interesting is that figures like Berkeley Dean Erwin Chemerinsky have denounced the conservative justices as “partisan hacks” but leaders like Ryan want to condition entry to the Court on meeting the demands of politicians like himself.

That is the rocky “road” that Ryan is taking with his multiplicitous litmus tests. While many voters may love the notion of swiping left on every circumspect nominee, the courts will be worse for it.


74 thoughts on “Swiping Left: Tim Ryan Promises to Impose Multiple Litmus Tests on Judicial Nominees”

  1. I sure hope Professor Turley covers this topic as it has vast implications in health care

    California to Doctors: Agree With Us or Shut Up
    The state empowers a medical board to punish ‘misinformation.’


    The law grants the board broad discretion to define the scientific consensus and misinformation. Yet seven of the board’s 15 members, who are appointed by the Governor and state lawmakers, aren’t even physicians. The president is an environmental attorney. Another runs a life coaching company.

    A lawsuit filed last week by two doctors makes a strong argument that California’s law violates their First Amendment speech rights and is unconstitutionally vague under the Fourteenth Amendment. Even Mr. Newsom seemed to concede this by attaching a statement to his signature on the bill directing the board to punish only “those egregious instances in which a licensee is acting with malicious intent or clearly deviating from the required standard of care while interacting directly with a patient under their care.”

    Yet the law isn’t narrowly tailored, and doctors have no way of knowing what will land them in the dock. It will chill discussions between patients and physicians. Doctors who want to be free to practice medicine can follow Dr. Ladapo to Florida.

    1. “California to Doctors: Agree With Us or Shut Up”

      When physician autonomy at the bedside was attacked by government, HMO’s and other things, physicians did not do enough and did not stand firm. This is the natural result from too much apathy.

  2. Jonathan: Complaining about Tim Ryan’s “litmus test” for judicial nominees is like the pot calling the kettle black. You should know better than to try to put that one over on us. For 4 years all of Trump’s judicial pics, including his three nominees to the SC, were selected by the conservative Federalist Society. that had its own “litmus test”–every nominee had to prove their conservative credentials. Never recall you complaining about that “litmus test”. Judge Cannon, a member of the FS since 2005 and one of Trump’s pics, proved her loyalty to the conservative agenda when she intervened to protect Trump’s claims re the classified documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago. Most legal experts say Cannon should have deferred to Judge Reinhardt who authorized the original search warrant. But Cannon decided to give Trump practically everything he asked for until her non-sensical rulings were met with ridicule by the 11th Circuit! Judge Cannon is proof positive of what you call “the danger that judges will become mere extensions of the political process,…” . Cannon fits that description in spades!

    1. The first up on the Litmus Test should be “Are you Catholic?” if so, then no go! The Court is lopsided with self-righteous Catholics, thanks to Trump and Bush. Next? When can we get Term Limits for these jokers?

  3. Ryan is yet another buffoonish Dim hellbent to take over the country and depose the Constitution. He’s slobbered to “kill and confront” (strange sequence) MAGA proponents. He’s my sworn enemy and I’m happy to oblige. How could anyone admit to party membership with him? Tulsi couldn’t:

    1. He’s 100,000% better than JD Vance. Vance looked like he was deer in the headlights at last night’s debate. So he’s perfect for the GQP. Trump sure does like then uneducated.

      1. Are you even slightly familiar with JD Vance ?
        have you read or watched “Hillbilly Elegy” ?

        Vance was born into poverty worse than most of the poor in this country can imagine.
        The homeless in LA are better off.
        His family was pretty crappy, and yet he survived, and thrived and made himself and the world better.
        and continues to do so.

        Ryan’s vulture capitalist remark exposes the idiot he is.

        In matthew christ says that we will be judged on how much better we have made the lives of others.
        Mother Theresa is an amazing person with the purest heart and motives – but JD Vance has done more to make peoples lives better. Christ does not ask “What were your intentions ?, what was in your heart ?”, he asks “What did you do ? “

  4. Ryan is one reason why Democrats should not be in charge of the Senate nor be able as President to nominate judicial candidates

  5. Let’s just do away with the Supreme Court and decide an issue by who can get the most protesters gathered and burn down the most square footage? This is TONGUE IN CHEEK folks.

  6. Simple Litmus Test of Politicians
    1) Is the candidate an incumbent?
    Yes: Vote for someone else

  7. This is an excellent treatise on how the process of nominating a Supreme Court justice should work. Thank you, Dr. Turley! Ryun is oblivious to this and would serve his constituents better if he spent some time learning about it. Unfortunately, he is just buying votes with his rhetoric and equally unfortunate, some of his constituents blindly buy it.

  8. I have no doubt that J.D. Vance lied. I am certain that he will apply a litmus test. He just won’t tell the voters that he will do so.

  9. “I will have a litmus test on Roe v Wade, I’ll have a litmus test on the same-sex marriage, I’ll have a litmus test on birth control. We can’t keep going down this road of taking away rights.”

    – Tim Ryan (D)

    Here again, a communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO) nullifies fundamental, statutory and natural law in order to rule as an authoritarian through the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

    On a fundamental level, same-sex marriage is an impossible, oxymoronic, contradiction in terms. Marriage is an institution comprised of a male and a female created to protect and perpetuate child-bearing and motherhood. Matrimony is based on the Latin word for mother, or mater. Same-sex participants have no possibility of bearing children or engaging in motherhood. Ridiculous people bizarrely hold a twisted desire to compel normal people to bend to their will and appear abnormal. Homosexuality is clearly and inarguably a perversion and aberration of nature. All people may agree to a contract of mutual obligations.

    Roe v. Wade was an attempt to illicitly modify fundamental law, and a deliberate constitutional error and aberration perpetrated by a communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO) Supreme Court which must have been impeached and convicted for dereliction, abuse of power, usurpation of power and wanton, gross, unnatural corruption.

    “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

    – Edmund Burke

  10. The comments have degraded to team preference, again.

    But all are ignoring there are more than two teams. Lost on all the leftist, the fact that decisions are supposed to be based on the Constitution. The discussion today on Dobbs has yet to mention even once, where Dobbs, got the Constitution wrong.

    Just like Turley, and Dirschowitz, and Althouse over at her blog, are labeled conservative, when none of them are conservative. At the most Turley is libertarian, the other two are flaming liberals.

    They all get labeled conservative because they all follow the constitution, and written law. To conservatives, it is no surprise, that closely adhering to the words and manifest tenor of the Constitution, is the source of Conservative Thought.

    1. If you are interested to know where the Dobbs majority got it wrong, you may want to look at the Dobbs dissent.

      1. They are the minority for a reason. Now tell us how you defend SCOTUS Dred Scott v. Sandford. We will wait with baited breath

        We think … that they [black people] are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time [of America’s founding] considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them.

        — Dred Scott, 60 U.S. at 404–05.

        1. Dred Scott was wrongly decided and I am glad the 14th amendment corrected it.

          1. Dred Scott was an illegal alien who was denied citizenship by immigration law, the Naturalization Act of 1802.

            Dred Scott must have been compassionately repatriated in 1863.

            I don’t imagine the Constitution included holding a gun to America’s head as a part of the amendment process.

            The Supreme Court acted recently to engage in Judicial Review retroactively by 50 years to correct Roe v. Wade.

            The Supreme Court must now engage in Judicial Review retroactively by 150 years and overturn the improperly ratified and unconstitutional 14th Amendment.

            We do endeavor mightily to obey the law, do we not?

      2. you may want to look at the Dobbs dissent.
        No. I want you to tell me how the majority got it wrong. The core of Dobbs rests on the 10th amendment. Tell me why that's wrong.

        Since Roe, lots of scholars have dissected Roe, and found it wanting from a Constitutional standard. Ginsberg, voiced her doubts about the the constitutional reasoning of Roe.

        But, what is being done here is not discussion on the merits. It is pure team sport. That serves no purpose.

        So you tell me what Dobbs got wrong.

        1. Any deficiencies in Roe’s approach and reasoning were clarified in Casey. The constitutional right to an abortion is covered under the liberty clause in the 14th amendment. For more, read the Dobbs dissent.

          1. I have problems with Republicans who can not find a right in the 9th amendment if it bit them in the ass, and even if they did they would not protect it.

            But Democrats ignore all individual rights – including those enumerated in the constitution – except rare instances like abortion.
            then they find a right to abortion everywhere in the constitution.

            Republicans are atleast consistent in their error, and you can construct “the rule of law” on that foundation.

            Democrats seem to think that women have the right to kill another being inhabitting their body through to birth – or beyond for some, but are unable to find a right to own a gun, protest in the capital – unless you are a democrat, or refuse to be vaccinated.

            When ” My Body, My Choice” does not apply to vaccines or masks, there is no reason to seriously expect it applies to fetus’s.

            If you wish to claim rights based on the constitution – do not expect anyone to pay attention, when you pick and choose based on criteria that no one can make any sense of.

            1. The Liberty clause is INAPPLICABLE.

              The Supreme Court cannot create a right that already exists under the 10th Amendment, which reserves the right to the states, and it CANNOT TRANSFER a right from the states.

              The liberal Supreme Court used a SCAM to take action it knew could not be corrected by anyone but them.

        2. Even Lawrence Tribe found Roe (and Casey) wanting, but arrived at a right to abortion (sort of) a different way.
          Through a common law right to control your own body.

          Of course that would open the door to a right to not max, or not get vaccinated, and the left can not have that.

      3. “Roe v. Wade, 126 in contrast, invited no dialogue with legislators. In- stead, it seemed entirely to remove the ball from the legislators’ court. In 1973, when Roe issued, abortion law was in a state of change across the nation.” _RBG

      4. Why haven’t you cited the Constitution?

        Answer: Because you are wrong and you know that well.

  11. On the plus side, once all 9 justices have checked all the proper litmus test boxes, we can just skip the the whole messy business of hearings, filings and arguments and just move right along to adding up the boxes.

  12. Blah, blah, blah. Trump only appointed judges who were first vetted by the ultra right-wing Federalist Society, including, but especially Gorsuch, Barrett and Kavanaugh. THAT was their litmus test, and many appointed to the federal bench, including Cannon, were found to be “not qualified” by the ABA. The views and values of the Federalist Society do not reflect the views and values of the majority of Americans.

    1. The views and values of the Federalist Society do not reflect the views and values of the majority of Americans.

      Strange comment, considering the Constitution never mentions the will of the Majority. Unless the commenter is ignorant of the Constitution.

    2. Leave your bubble sometime. The views and values of the Federalist Society DO reflect the views and values of the majority of Americans.

      1. Oh, really? Then why do most Americans believe that the Constitutional protections of liberty and privacy apply to a woman’s decision whether to terminate a pregnancy–a right found almost 50 years ago and affirmed by multiple subsequent SCOTUS opinions, but overturned by the ultra right-wingers Trump appointed? Oh, and never forget that Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett all lied about their position on reversing Roe v. Wade just to get onto the Court. Republican Senator Susan Collins said so.

        1. They don’t apply. “Woman’s control over her body” is the big Democrat Lie.
          Women can’t legally take unprescribed drugs or have euthanasia. No control.
          The Constitutional rights you quoted were a scam.
          The Supreme Court said that they created them. They could not do so because the rights already belonged to the states under the 10th Amendment and the Supreme Court had no right to transfer them to Federal jurisdicduped.

          You and other women were duped.

          1. Well, why don’t you read Roe and its progeny–Roe was decided and affirmed by SCOTUS multiple times over the course of almost 50 years– before you lecture anyone about the law. The Dobbs decision has been derided by the majority of constitutional scholars..

            1. Natacha is no longer stealing the identity of an attorney in Indiana after being called out by an attorney from Indiana. This from the “nurse practitioner” with an MSN Degree. but why Gigi?

              🎶 Thank Heavens, for little girls xers 🎶

    3. And so did Democrats who have Moe, Curly, and Larry as Supreme Court Mannequins who always vote without thinking in the same manner.

    4. Gigi, I think you’re great. You’re a strong and intelligent woman.

      May we get rid of affirmative action now?

      May we fire and remove all undeserving false beneficiaries of affirmative action, quotas, etc.?

      May we compel through law the repayment of all, and every form of, actual and imputed, false, unearned and undeserved compensation as expressed in U.S. dollars?

      Oh, and the American fertility rate is in a “death spiral,” meaning more Americans die than are born; maybe you and the gals could work on that, your natural duty?

      Whatever shall we do if we disappear?

      How do we engage in the “pursuit of happiness” as good Americans if we’re simply gone?

  13. This subject is one which should not be swept under the carpet. There’s so much that can be discussed, pondered, debated among people with similar as well as differing viewpoints when it comes to the concept of a litmus test — and not just for the SCOTUS………let’s discuss a litmus test for the position of POTUS. RBG was correct — no matter what you think about her personal philosophies, she was absolute in her refusal to endorse any litmus testing for Supreme Court nominees.
    I have another question however: I’ve loosely followed Tim Ryan’s career, back to before he wanted to become the Speaker of the House and beat out Pelosi for the job —-it seemed Tim was fairly level-headed when it came to his politics, a guy who could work across the aisle, and until now, NOT the kind of guy who took extreme positions —- so my question is ‘why now Tim?’ Is this situational ethics at work, or are your core beliefs truly different than they were in years past?

  14. You never object to Republican litmus tests or loyalty oaths to Trump but then as usual they are Republicans!

    What he’s actually saying is will judges follow the CONSTITUTION but I realize that isn’t a good thing! Judges are supposed to work hard deep sixing voting rights, the right to choose and the rights of average humans to their day in court while elevating the rights of corporations and churches.

    1. What a perfect storm of projection your post is! The point is that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court IS following the Constitution. Progressive (there are no traditional Democrats left, Tulsi Gabbard just left…) mental midgets like Ryan don’t like that, so they scream and throw tantrums until they get their way. Time for the adults to take charge again.

  15. I know comments like this aren’t particularly insightful or fodder for much debate, and if it gets thrown away, fine, but seriously: ‘classical Liberals’: are you ready to start voting differently? Because if you aren’t, why does any of this matter? Vote for institutional rot, and that’s what you’ll get. Are you all really holding out hope that somehow better choices will be made next time, in this age of absolute, Cosmopolitan, globalist control? To me, the younger and non-fringe GOP are starting to sound a whole lot like JFK Democrats used to, but I am not blinded by generational allegiance to a political idea. Evolution, my behind. Crusty, in the throes of entropy, and non-examined is more like it.

    What do you actually believe and want to see? Or do you, not unlike the people you condescend to, seem to think that’s someone else’s problem? Rubber has met road in 2022. Decide what you’d like to see beyond that. Was the Constitution always just a generational concept to you all, just a tale told to children to reassure them they weren’t ‘bad people’ since they were on the side of right at home, at least in theory, someone else’s problem because you could still get your latte before you embarked on your day within the ten mile radius of your apartment in a nice part of town? Have you built entire careers or dynasties on that kind of naivite? I am at the point that I don’t believe modern Dems would even recognize a fellow human’s humanity without a 50 item long questionnaire, and we have begun to pass laws by that standard.

  16. For 30 years the Republicans have made opposition to abortion a litmus test to nominations. This is nothing new.

    1. Yup. And that is only relevant if you are too lazy to actually examine the thoughts and conditions surrounding the issue of abortion, or if you still believe in the antiquated notions that anyone that disagrees with you is almost certainly going up the mountain at night under the full moon to worship Beelzebub and repress women because they are useless baby receptacles and nothing more, which you apparently you do. Who is the ignorant person in this conversation? You can’t defend your point without admitting the opposite. Times have changed, you have not. The dinosaurs are not to be found anywhere but the Left. The modern American Left make cave men blush in embarrassment. And if you think it’s just ‘the right’ you aren’t paying attention. Everyone with a sane brain believes women should have options; those options do not include literally killing a child brought to term that was about to be born, for real, right now.

    2. For 30 years the Republicans have made opposition to abortion a litmus test to nominations.

      I’d say longer than that. But what you fail to understand is that underlying their opposition to abortion is the greater opposition to the federal government consuming powers reserved for the states and the people. The Dobbs decision did not decide for the nation the legality of abortion. The only thing it did is return the determination of it’s legality to the states and their citizens.

    3. care to provide an objective source that supports your opinion that Republicans used abortion as litmus test for nominations? i’ve watched plenty and dont remember seeing a single nominee being asked if they oppose abortion and them saying yest or no

  17. I have yet to have anyone explain to me, exactly how Dobbs did anything but put the people in charge of their own governance.

    I cant think of a single thing I would rather have a judge force on me that the legislature force on me. Dobbs have assured us that the values of the people will be the law, even as those values evolve.

    1. If you are a women with an unwanted pregnancy, or worse, a dangerous pregnancy, you don’t feel you have any control over yourself.

      1. If you have the flu you do not feel you have control over yourself.

        The flu is not a result of your own choices pregnancy is.

        Rights are prohibitions against government interference,
        or in some cases interference from your neighbor.
        There is no right to thwart nature.

        And absolutely people can make choices that leave them no longer in control of yourself.

        I am libertarain. I would end the FDA and make all drugs legal.
        If you inject fentanyl and that kills you – that is your problem.
        and you will have lost control over yourself.

      2. In this age of multiple forms of birth control, except for very, very rare cases of incest or rape, please explain how ones gets an “unwanted” pregnancy at the rate at which abortions are regularly performed.

        1. Why don’t you ask the 10 year old Ohio girl about her unwanted pregnancy? And then, there’s contraceptive failure, which happens all of the time. The actual incidence of pregnancy resulting from rape isn’t known because most rapes go unreported due to the fact that the woman has already suffered enough emotional and physical trauma just from the rape without being grilled by the police, prosecutors, and if the case goes to trial, by a defense attorney.

          1. IF Joe Biden didn’t open up the borders, she NEVER would have been raped to begin with. There is a reason why we should be vetting every single person that is invading our Southern border, but Joe screwed up, and let them spew in unvetted. You get what YOU voted for. Congratulations. Pat yourself on the back Gigi!!!

      3. Control of her body by a woman is a THE BIG LIE propagated by Democrats.
        Can a woman have Euthanasia? No.
        Can a woman commit suicide? No.
        Can a woman take any drugs she wishes without a prescription? No.

        So it is obvious that the most important controls a woman can have over her body are non existent.

        A woman dies NOT have “control over her body.”

    2. I have yet to have anyone explain to me, exactly how Dobbs did anything but put the people in charge of their own governance.

      Excellent point! SCOTUS quite literally returned rights back to the people and the states they reside in. I understand for that subset of Americans who suddenly find themselves confronted with the arduous responsibility of exercising their freedom and liberty, that can be a scary thing. SCOTUS just kicked them out their federal government nest and it’s now up to them to learn to be the citizens they are supposed to be, or die screaming. By focusing on just this one issue, they fail to recognize the amount of power that was restored to them. Kant describes the challenge that lies ahead for these folks:

      Thus it is very difficult for the individual to work himself out of the nonage which has become almost second nature to him. He has even grown to like it, and is at first really incapable of using his own understanding because he has never been permitted to try it. Dogmas and formulas, these mechanical tools designed for reasonable use–or rather abuse–of his natural gifts, are the fetters of an everlasting nonage. The man who casts them off would make an uncertain leap over the narrowest ditch, because he is not used to such free movement. That is why there are only a few men who walk firmly, and who have emerged from nonage by cultivating their own minds.

  18. As Democrats go, Ryan presents himself as a “moderate.” Imagine what the radicals do.

    Of course, they said Biden would be a unifier, and look how that is turning out.

  19. The true test of a competent judge is whether after considering the facts, he or she can render a decision contrary to that judge’s personal beliefs.

  20. Turley: “The danger is that justices and judges will become mere extensions of the political process, judicial cutouts for politicians controlling entry on to the courts…”


    Too late.

    1. Young, it is too late on the left, not on the right. Name one time that a liberal Justice voted against the liberal wishes. Can’t do it. Yet we can name multiple times that conservative Justices have voted against what conservatives wanted.

      We have had judicial partisans like Kagan and Sotomeyer vote against stopping the eviction ban, an obvious and egregious Constitutional error. The left can go three for three on every case that comes before the Court whereas the right will lose votes almost every time.

      1. KAGAN. Check out Ramos v. Louisiana (2020). This was a case, in which a 6-3 Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury requires a unanimous verdict to convict a defendant of a serious offense in state criminal trials. It overturned Apodaca v. Oregon (1972), in which a plurality held that the Sixth Amendment only required unanimity in federal trials but not in state trials.

        Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion and was joined by the liberals other than Kagan. His opinion was relied on heavily by Justice Alito in Dobbs for justifying the rejection of stare decisis with respect to Roe v. Wade.

        Ironically, Alito authored the dissent in Ramos, in which he claimed that the doctrine of stare decisis got a “rough treatment.”

        Justice Kagan joined Alito’s dissent (along with Roberts), even though split decision juries make it easier to convict criminal defendants (a policy which most liberals would oppose). This is because she believes in stare decisis, unlike Alito apparently (who just cares about the conservative outcome, no matter the means needed to get there).

        I should add that the other liberals and other conservatives, save for Gorsuch and Roberts, are just as bad as Alito, but I find it fascinating that he actually wrote the Ramos dissent.

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