1987-1988 Conservative Victories

This term had a relative shortage of conservative victories, but that was mostly due to the absence of Anthony Kennedy for much of the term. It was a weird and transitory term in general, but there were still 10 times that the legendary Rehnquist-White-O’Connor-Scalia-Kennedy bloc outvoted the Brennan-Marshall-Blackmun-Stevens bloc. You can read my post on the 1986-1987 conservative victories for a more detailed summary of my methodology.

Total victories: 10 (6.54%)

Patterson v. McLean Credit Union – When the Court hears this case next year, the parties should brief and argue whether Runyon v. McCrary, which banned certain private organizations from discriminating based on race, should be overturned

Wheat v. United States – A District Court can refuse to allow, on conflict of interests grounds, for a lawyer to represent a defendant when that lawyer is already representing the defendant’s alleged co-conspirators, even if the defendant and the co-conspirators are all prepared to waive the conflict of interest

Ross v. Oklahoma – When, in a capital case, a judge fails to excuse an unqualified potential juror, and the defense has to use one of its peremptory challenges to remove that potential juror, there is no inherent violation of the Eighth Amendment

Florida v. Long – The rule that pension payouts cannot differ based on sex was not judicially established until the Norris (and not the Manhart ruling). Furthermore, pension payouts that began before the Norris ruling cannot be retroactively or prospectively adjusted upward to meet that ruling’s demands

Patterson v. Illinois – An interrogating interview with an indicted suspect before he receives a lawyer is not automatically unconstitutional. Furthermore, in such an interview the suspect can make an informed waiver of his right against self-incrimination after hearing only the Miranda warning

Schweiker v. Chilicky – It remains an open question as to whether or not a statute explicitly banned the creation of a Bivens remedy for alleged Due Process violations by the Social Security administration

Kadrmas v. Dickinson Public Schools – It violates neither the Equal Protection clause, nor a more general right to education, to require poor families to pay a fee for bus transportation to school, even if only certain school districts are statutorily allowed to impose such a fee

Boyle v. United Technologies Corp. – When a private contractor manufactures products according to the specifications stated in contracts with the government, those manufacturers are immune from state law torts under a theory of government contractor immunity

Bowen v. Kendrick – The Adolescent Family Life Act, which provides grants to organizations to promote chastity, does not facially violate the Establishment clause by allowing religious groups to receive grants, or by requiring grant applicants to state how they might involve religious groups in their programs

United States v. Kozminski – Involuntary servitude, as used in the Thirteenth Amendment, and some enforcing statute, only includes servitude coerced by physical threats or legal threats, and does not include servitude coerced by psychological manipulation


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