Yesterday I talked about the theory that is the foundation of my two books. The basic idea is that constitutional law follows a generational pattern that unfolds in a similar way about every thirty years. (As a side note — the pattern holds pretty well for British politics and can even be applied to what’s going on Iran (thirty years between the fall of the Shah and now), although in a dictatorship there are obviously powerful means available to crush dissent.)
The key inflection point in this cycle is when one generation supplants another. As scholars from Robert Dahl to Keith Whittington have said, these transitional periods typically see the greatest friction between the political branches and the Court. Why? Because the Court is still controlled by what Justice Robert H. Jackson once called the “rejected regime.” Thus, the Justices are likely to challenge the initiatives and assumptions of the new political leadership.