CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal News Blog

Where in the World Is the Supreme Court?

Over at the Blog of Legal Times, they're predicting that the Supreme Court will wrap up their term within the week.  The BLT points to the start of a conference featuring Justice Breyer and former Justice O'Connor on June 29 to back up its assertion.

That conference is in Colorado, but some of the other justices are traveling even greater distances this summer.  Four justices are traveling out of the country, in fact.  That makes an even 50% of the Court, considering Justice Souter's retirement. 

(I assume that Judge Sotomayor, who technically isn't a justice until sworn in, will be spending her time stateside preparing for her imminent confirmation hearings.)
It's not unusual that Justice Kennedy is going to Salzburg, Austria for the summer, since he's been teaching at the McGeorge School of Law's summer program for 20 years straight.  Nor is it much of a shock that Justice Ginsburg will be in Rome for the summer as an instructor for the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  Hopefully she'll have many opportunities to take in some opera while there.

What's a little more surprising is that two members of the Court's conservative wing, a group of justices typically known for their aversion to the encroachment of international legal principles into American constitutional jurisprudence, will also be spending time abroad during the recess.  Chief Justice Roberts will be teaching a course on Supreme Court history for the New England School of Law program in Galway, Ireland, and Justice Alito will be instructing students at St. Mary's University School of Law's summer program.

While this probably doesn't mean much - after all, conservative justices like European vacations as much as the rest of us - it could have a significant effect on the Court over time.  After all, Jeffrey Toobin credits Justice Kennedy's international experiences for softening the Justice's conservative stance on many issues.  Perhaps all this globetrotting will eventually move the Court leftwards?  Let's give it a few decades and find out.

No word on what Justices Thomas, Scalia or Stevens will occupy themselves with this summer.  I imagine that Justice Thomas will take the RV out for a spin and Justice Stevens will most likely add to his bow tie collection.  As for Justice Scalia, maybe he'll spend some time in his basement office at Hogwarts. . .