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Lawyers, Guns, and Money picks up on this disturbingly ignorant passage from the New York Times concerning potential O'Connor replacement Michael Luttig:

Judge Luttig (pronounced LOO-tig) is renowned for being sought out by Virginia officials when they wanted a sympathetic judge to issue an emergency order blocking a lower court ruling that invalidated the state's ban on what it called partial-birth abortion. He granted the order in 1998 and then wrote a full opinion upholding the law.

But when the Supreme Court rejected his analysis and the case came his way again, he acknowledged his obligation to reverse course.

"Our responsibility is to faithfully follow its opinions," he wrote, adding that the Supreme Court's ruling on abortion deserved a special respect from lower court judges.

That approach could be interpreted as similar to Justice O'Connor's in declining to overturn precedents that have been upheld by the Supreme Court over the years.

Of course, a lower court judge's willingness to abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court has absolutely nothing to do with a Supreme Court Justice's willingness to abide by Court precedent. The lower court judge has no choice in the matter; he must yield to the dictates of the higher court.

Pretty basic stuff.

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