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Many Voices, One Court: The Origin and Role of Dissent in the Supreme Court

Authors

  • PETER BOZZO,

  • SHIMMY EDWARDS,

  • APRIL A. CHRISTINE


Abstract

E pluribus unum—out of many, one—is the phrase emblazoned on the Seal of the United States, which refers to the notion that a single American voice emerges from the many diverse groups that constitute the nation. The legislative and executive branches of government often act as one voice through legislative bills and executive acts, aggregating diverse interests that reflect the national will. The notion of e pluribus unum, however, is not often applied to the judiciary, a branch of government the members of which are viewed, not as outlets for the will of the people, but as gatekeepers of the rule of law. But while the Supreme Court may not speak directly for the people, its opinions speak to the people, and the methods used by the Justices to express those opinions have revealed changes in the conception of the Court's voice throughout history.

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