Other justices make errors too

Justice Scalia’s error in his EPA v. EME Homer City Generation dissent prompted substantial commentary (in the Post and elsewhere). Yet errors in Supreme Court opinions are more common than people realize, as Eugene noted here.  Indeed, Justice Stevens made the same error as Justice Scalia did, several years earlier. Rick Hasen also noted that one can even find errors in unanimous opinions (and that such errors don’t prompt the same amount of commentary).  The justices (and their clerks) are fallible, just like the rest of us

Justice Kagan’s dissenting opinion in Town of Greece v. Galloway, released just this morning, offers the latest example of an error in a Supreme Court opinion.  According to Yair Rosenberg, Justice Kagan misidentified the location of “the first community of American Jews.”  Justice Kagan said it was in Newport, but Rosenberg says it was really in New Amsterdam, citing Jonathan Sarna’s book American Judaism.  This error is not as conspicuous (or embarrassing) as Scalia’s, but it is a reminder that he was neither the first not the last justice to make a mistake in an opinion.

Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in constitutional, administrative, and environmental law at the Case Western University School of Law, where he is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation.
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