The Federalist Society

Shady Grove v. Allstate: A Case Study in Formalism Versus Pragmatism

Engage, Volume 11, Issue 2

August 31, 2010

Aaron D. Van Oort, Eileen M. Hunter

Our favorite Supreme Court opinions are 5-4 splits with unusual lineups and Justices apparently voting counter to type. The close vote signals that the case involves a genuinely difficult legal issue. An unusual lineup eliminates ideology as a likely explanation for the outcome. And votes against type indicate that forces contrary to policy preferences are at work. Often, these cases reveal something interesting about the Justices’ approaches to interpreting law...

Shady Grove v. Allstate: A Case Study in Formalism Versus Pragmatism  


The Federalist Society