Thursday, August 8, 2019
The Court today has five conservative justices and four liberal ones. Since 2010, for the first time in US history, all the conservatives have been appointed by Republicans, and all the liberals have been appointed by Democrats. If the justices voted like members of Congress, almost all significant cases would be decided 5–4, with the conservatives prevailing. But the justices are not members of Congress, and that matters. It matters even more after the deeply partisan fight over Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination. A striking number of the recently completed term’s cases were decided by majorities that included at least one conservative justice joining the liberals, or at least one liberal justice joining the conservatives—almost as if the Court were seeking to reassure us that it is nonpartisan.