Today, legal culture is shaped by One Big Question: should courts, particularly the US Supreme Court, have a lot of power? This question is affecting the legal views variously maintained by conservatives and liberals, not just in court but also in the academy. Perhaps most fundamentally, the right (because it is newly in power) is becoming less formalist, and the left more so. In addition, the legal left and right are repositioning themselves, or trading places, with respect to topics like interpretive method, deference to agencies, and standing. This dynamic helps to reveal the underlying structure of the law. And greater appreciation of that underlying structure can benefit legal culture by fostering respect, humility, and toleration.

These remarks were prepared for the keynote address at the National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars, which was hosted in February 2024 by the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Rehnquist Center.

Richard M. Re, The One Big Question, National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars (February, 2024).
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