As another U.S. Supreme Court term wraps up, I am reminded of the incorrectly but often cited trope by law students summing up the Court’s power: ‘We may not always be right, but we are final!’ (The actual quote, uttered by Associate Justice Robert Jackson in his separate concurring opinion in Brown v. Allen (1953) was, ‘We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.’)Insurance Industry
To read the headlines, you would think that the Supreme Court was as dysfunctional as the Congress that confirms the justices. In actuality, they are not.
The bulk of the Court’s decisions are rendered either as an unsigned per curium (Latin for ‘by the court’) opinion, or as a unanimous opinion.
While they are not always successful, the sizable number of unanimous or near unanimous opinions are the result of the Court’s efforts to limit most of its rulings to issues that can garner the support of a strong majority of the justices.
Even as the court generally limits its opinions to a focused point, its words often have unexpectedly outsized impacts.