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肯尼迪退休:影响最高法院30年的摇摆票

更新时间:2018-6-29 20:35:32 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

In Influence if Not in Title, This Has Been the Kennedy Court
肯尼迪退休:影响最高法院30年的摇摆票

WASHINGTON — Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has served for more than 30 years under two chief justices: William H. Rehnquist and John G. Roberts Jr. Courts are by tradition named for the chief justice. Since 2005, it has been the Roberts court.

华盛顿——安东尼·M·肯尼迪(Anthony M. Kennedy)任大法官三十余载,历经威廉·H·伦奎斯特(William H. Rehnquist)法院和小约翰·G·罗伯茨(John G. Roberts Jr.)法院。按照传统,最高法院以时任首席大法官的名字命名,自2005年起为罗伯茨法院。

But if influence were the deciding factor, it would be more accurate to speak of the period since 1988 as the Kennedy court.

但如果影响力是决定性因素,1988年以来,将最高法院称为肯尼迪法院更为准确。

Justice Kennedy has occupied a place at the court’s ideological center for his entire tenure, though he shared the middle ground with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for most of his first two decades. On her retirement in 2006, his vote became the undisputed crucial one in most of the court’s closely divided cases.

在整个任期内,肯尼迪大法官身居最高法院的意识形态中心点,尽管他在任期前20年的大部分时间里同桑德拉·戴·奥康纳(Sandra Day O’Connor)一起站在中间派立场。待到2006年奥康纳退休,他的这一票就无可争议地成了最高法院大多数势均力敌的案件中的关键。

There have been about 51 decisions in which Justice Kennedy joined a liberal majority in a closely divided case, while Chief Justice Roberts dissented. All of those precedents could be in jeopardy, said Lee Epstein, a law professor and political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis.

在大约51项双方势均力敌的判决中,肯尼迪大法官加入了占多数的自由派,而罗伯茨首席大法官则站在反对的一方。圣路易斯华盛顿大学(Washington University)的法学教授、政治学者李·爱泼斯坦(Lee Epstein)说,所有这些判例都有可能陷入险境。

To be sure, Justice Kennedy often voted with the court’s conservatives. He wrote the majority opinion in Citizens United, which allowed unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, and he joined the majority in Bush v. Gore, which handed the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. Justice Kennedy also voted with the court’s conservatives in cases on the Second Amendment and voting rights.

当然,肯尼迪大法官也经常站在保守派一方。他起草了联合公民(Citizens United)一案的多数意见书,该判决允许公司和工会无限制地向竞选活动投入资金。在布什诉戈尔案(Bush v. Gore)中,他站在多数派一方,将2000年总统选举赢家判给了乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)。在有关第二修正案和投票权的案件中,肯尼迪大法官也投票支持最高法的保守派。

Not infrequently, though, he joined the court’s liberal wing in important cases on contested social issues, including liberal decisions on gay rights, abortion, affirmative action and the death penalty. A court containing two Trump appointees could chip away at those rulings.

然而,在关于有争议的社会问题的重要案件中,他经常支持最高法的自由派,包括关于同性恋权利、堕胎、平权行动和死刑的自由派裁决。如果最高法中有两名由特朗普任命的大法官,这些裁决可能会被逐一推翻。

Mr. Trump has vowed, for instance, to appoint justices committed to overruling Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. That would not happen overnight if another Trump appointee joined the court, but aggressive restrictions on access to abortion would very likely be sustained.

比如,1973年的罗诉韦德案(Roe v. Wade)的裁决确立了堕胎的宪法权利,然而特朗普发誓要任命否决该裁决的大法官。虽然这种事不会在一夜之间发生,但是如果另一个被特朗普任命的法官加入最高法院,对堕胎的严格限制很可能会持续下去。

The vote count in the court’s most recent abortion case is telling. In 2016, when the court was short-handed after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Kennedy joined the court’s four-member liberal wing to strike down a restrictive Texas abortion law. That ruling would almost certainly have come out differently from a court without Justice Kennedy and with two Trump appointees.

最高法院最近一次堕胎案中的投票数字很能说明问题。2016年,最高法院在安东宁·斯卡利亚大法官(Antonin Scalia)去世后人数不足,肯尼迪大法官加入了法院的四人自由派,推翻了德克萨斯州一项严格限制堕胎的法律。如果把肯尼迪大法官换成两名特朗普任命的大法官,那么这项裁决几乎肯定会有所不同。

The right to same-sex marriage seems more secure, and Mr. Trump has said he considers the issue settled. But a court including a second Trump appointee would be quite unlikely to expand gay rights and would instead be receptive to arguments from religious groups that object to same-sex marriage.

同性婚姻权利似乎安全一点,特朗普说过他认为这个问题已经解决。但包括两个特朗普任命大法官的最高法院,不太可能扩大同性恋权利,而是会乐于接受反对同性婚姻的宗教团体的论点。

According to a court spokeswoman, Justice Kennedy told his colleagues on Wednesday of his decision to step down, effective July 31.

据最高法院一位发言人称,肯尼迪大法官于周三告知同事自己决定退休,于7月31日生效。

“It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court,” Justice Kennedy said in a statement.

肯尼迪大法官在一份声明中表示:“在联邦司法系统为国家服务43年,其中30年在最高法院任职,这是我的最高荣誉与荣幸。”

In a letter to Mr. Trump, Justice Kennedy, 81, expressed “profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.”

在致特朗普的信中,81岁的肯尼迪大法官称“能在每宗案件中探求如何以最佳方式了解、阐释和捍卫宪法,以及法律务必遵从于它的授权和承诺,令我满怀感恩。”

That language — earnest, flowery, a little mystical — was characteristic of his judicial writing, which was not to everyone’s taste.

这种热情、华丽、有点神秘感的语言,是他司法写作的特点,不见得符合所有人的口味。

Justice Kennedy’s opinions were studded with vague and soaring language.

肯尼迪大法官的意见书中往往充斥着模糊和崇高的语言。

“At the heart of liberty,” he said in a 1992 decision upholding the constitutional right to abortion, “is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.”

“在自由的核心,”他在1992年维护堕胎宪法权利的裁决中说道,“是定义自身存在的概念、意义、宇宙与人类生命奥秘的权利。”

Phrases like that infuriated his critics, notably Justice Scalia. In a 2003 dissent, Justice Scalia mocked “its famed sweet-mystery-of-life passage,” calling it “the passage that ate the rule of law.”

类似的言语激怒了他的批评者,特别是斯卡利亚大法官。在2003年的一篇不同意见书中,斯卡利亚嘲笑了“那著名的甜蜜生命奥秘段落”,还称其为“吃掉法治的段落”。

Justice Kennedy’s final opinions on the court had a valedictory quality. He wrote an inconclusive decision in a clash between a baker and a gay couple, and he joined a pair of decisions ducking the question of whether the Constitution prohibits partisan gerrymandering.

肯尼迪大法官在法庭上发表的最后几次意见具有告别演说的性质。他在烘焙师与同性恋伴侣冲突一案中写下了一篇无结论意见书,并且在几个案件中支持回避宪法是否禁止党派不公正划分选区的问题。

Justice Kennedy valued civility and dignity, and the Trump years seemed to take a toll. In Tuesday’s decision upholding Mr. Trump’s travel ban, he seemed to chide the president for incivility even as he said the courts could do nothing to force him to behave with the decorum Justice Kennedy prized.

肯尼迪大法官重视文明和尊严,在特朗普的时代,这一点似乎要付出代价。在周二决定维持特朗普的旅行禁令的同时,他似乎指责了总统的粗鲁,尽管他说,法庭无法强迫总统以他所珍视的庄重行事。

“There are numerous instances in which the statements and actions of government officials are not subject to judicial scrutiny or intervention,” he wrote. “That does not mean those officials are free to disregard the Constitution and the rights it proclaims and protects.”

“有很多例子说明政府官员的言论和行为不受司法审查或干预,”他写道。“这并不意味着这些官员可以自由地无视宪法及其主张和保护的权利。”

“The oath that all officials take to adhere to the Constitution is not confined to those spheres in which the judiciary can correct or even comment upon what those officials say or do,” he wrote. “Indeed, the very fact that an official may have broad discretion, discretion free from judicial scrutiny, makes it all the more imperative for him or her to adhere to the Constitution and to its meaning and its promise.”

“所有官员遵守宪法的誓言,并不局限于司法系统可以对官员的言行进行纠正甚或评价的范畴,”他写道。“实际上,恰恰由于官员可能会拥有广泛决定权,而且不受司法审查,他们务必要遵守宪法及其意义和承诺。”

A new Trump appointee would almost certainly vote with the court’s most conservative members, thrusting Chief Justice Roberts into the court’s ideological center. The chief justice has drifted slightly to the left in recent years, but aside from two votes sustaining President Barack Obama’s health care law, it is hard to point to a major decision in which he disappointed political conservatives.

特朗普的新人选几乎必然跟随法院最为保守的成员投票,将首席大法官罗伯茨推向法院的意识形态中心点。近年来,首席大法官略微偏左,但除了支持贝拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)总统的医疗保健法案的两票以外,很难指出他有哪个重大决定曾使政治保守派失望。

“Should Roberts become the median, the court could move well to the right, taking its place as the most conservative court in modern history,” Professor Epstein said.

“如果罗伯茨是中位数,那么法院可能已经彻底偏右了,成为了现代历史上最为保守的法院,”爱泼斯坦说道。

In the Supreme Court term that just concluded, Chief Justice Roberts already seemed to be moving to the court’s center, voting with the majority in divided cases more often than any other justice. The term yielded an extraordinary run of conservative rulings, including blockbusters upholding Mr. Trump’s travel ban and dealing a sharp blow to public unions.

在刚刚结束的最高法院庭期内,罗伯茨似乎已经在向中心移动,在有分歧的案件中,他比其他任何一个法官都更多地加入了多数派。该庭期出现了一连串惊人的保守派判决,包括轰动性地支持特朗普的旅行禁令,以及对工会施加重大打击。

“This term gave us a preview of what the Supreme Court would be like if Chief Justice Roberts were to become the swing vote,” said Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. “Progressives will lose, and they will lose a lot, except in a few criminal cases.”

“本次任期让我们提前看见了如果首席大法官罗伯茨成为了摇摆票的话,最高法院会是什么样子,”加州大学欧文分校(University of California, Irvine)法学教授利亚·利特曼(Leah Litman)说。“进步派会输,除了几起刑事案外,他们会输掉很多案子。”

Legal experts struggled to recall a recent example of a chief justice who was also the swing justice.

法律专家想不到近现代还有哪位首席大法官同时也是摇摆大法官。

Justice Kennedy himself did not like to be called the swing justice. “The cases swing,” he said in 2015 at Harvard Law School. “I don’t.”

肯尼迪大法官本人并不喜欢被人称为摇摆大法官。“案件在摇摆,”他于2015年在哈佛法学院说。“我不摇摆。”

That was correct. His jurisprudence contained an idiosyncratic mix of commitments, but they were fixed and strong, and they yielded vigorous opinions, very often speaking for the majority.

这话没错。他的法学是多种责任感的独特混合体,但这些责任感是坚定而强硬的,由此得出了有力的、往往为多数群体发声的意见。

“Every day you’re not in the majority you think is a dark day,” he told C-Span in 2009. By that standard, Justice Kennedy had very few dark days.

“不管什么时候,不在多数的一方会让你觉得这一天是灰暗的,”他2009年对C-Span频道说。照此标准,肯尼迪大法官经历过的灰暗日子可谓少之又少。

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