Edward A. Hartnett


A Matter of Judgment, Not a Matter of Opinion

Edward A. Hartnett

In this Article, Professor Hartnett enters the longstanding debate over whether elected officials are obliged to follow the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Responding to a call by Professors Larry Alexander and Frederick Shauer for complete deference to judicial opinions–a stance echoed by a broad range of scholars, now including former antideference advocate Edwin Meese–Professor Hartnett attempts to identify serious flaws in this position. He maintains that because the scope of tie judicial role is narrowly limited to deciding cases and controversies, and not “pronouncing the law,” there is a profound distinction between judgments and opinions. Therefore, we should not confuse deference with obedience and grant the Supreme Court a monopoly on constitutional interpretation.