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Power and TimeTemporalities in Conflict and the Making of History$
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Dan Edelstein, Stefanos Geroulanos, and Natasha Wheatley

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226481623

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226706016.001.0001

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The Future in the US Supreme Court

The Future in the US Supreme Court

Chapter:
(p.379) 15 The Future in the US Supreme Court
Source:
Power and Time
Author(s):

Kristen Loveland

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226706016.003.0016

This essay is interested in the role temporality—and in particular the temporality of the future—plays in establishing the authority of the United States Supreme Court. The temporality typically associated with judicial power is not the future, but the past. The courts’ reliance on precedent ensures uniformity in the law, but it is also a statement of a present court’s neutrality. The judiciary faces a particular problem when it comes to the future. It has few tools for prediction or planning. But I show that the Supreme Court sometimes seeks to assert power and authority, and thereby constrain politics, by reaping a harvest of expectation rather than experience. The Court’s discussion of the future—in particular in its opinions—may in fact be a tool by which it also seeks to shape the politics of the future. Because the Court lacks the requisites of prediction and planning and immediate response, the only means it has to affect the future is through its words.

Keywords:   U.S. Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court, temporality, futurity, jurisprudence

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