This Article considers Justice Stevens’ approach to equal protection and free speech cases. It contrasts his longstanding attempts to pierce through mediating doctrinal rules in these areas and apply true constitutional meaning (“the law beyond the rules”) with the more rule-bound approach exemplified by Chief Justice Roberts and other members of the Court’s conservative bloc. While appreciating JusticeStevens’ efforts in this regard, this Article also recognizes some of the problems he encountered in his quest. However, it also notes that the more rule-bound approach suffers from flaws of its own, even when judged against the criteria more rule-friendly justices offer to evaluate a given method of constitutional adjudication. Thus, whatever one might think of the ultimate success of Justice Stevens’ project, it is surely the case that the more rule-bound approach has not proven its clear superiority.

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