The Supreme Court's original jurisdiction case South Carolina v. North Carolina will never, ever be considered a blockbuster. Or even very interesting. Contrast it, in particular, with the Citizens United campaign finance reform case, whose long-awaited decision could well be the one handed down in a special court session convened for Thursday.
But let's pause, for one moment, to appreciate an aspect of the South Carolina v. North Carolina decision handed down Wednesday. That is, the fine, crisp, near-conversational writing style of Chief Justice John Roberts.
Setting aside the jurisprudence, the, you know, point of any decision, Suits & Sentences continues to be a fan of Chief Justice Roberts' writing. It's clear, plainspoken and effective; sometimes, a little extra touch is all it takes.
Consider this modest flourish from Roberts' partial dissent issued Wednesday.
"The result is literally unprecedented: Even though equitable apportionment actions are a significant part of our original docket, this Court has never before granted intervention in such a case to an entity other than a State, the United States, or an Indian tribe. Never."
See that? See how Roberts drives home the point with the reiteration of the word 'never,' hammered in with a potent, one-word sentence. At another point, Roberts runs out an explication and then adds:
"And all this for what?"
This is almost casual, easy on the ear -- and it thereby helps pull the reader along. Nicely done, sir.