Despite Wins, Supreme Court is not a Liberal Court

Nina Totenberg of NPR observes that “though the court is dominated by conservative justices — the liberal minority, disciplined and united, drove the direction in a startling number of cases, while the conservatives splintered into multiple factions.”

“The liberals won in 19 of the 26 closely-divided ideological cases and eight out of 10 of the most important ones … Even taking the most centrist of the conservatives, Justice Anthony Kennedy, out of the equation, one or more members of the conservative bloc crossed over to join the liberals in 14 of the most ideological cases, while the reverse was true for the liberals only three times.”

One reason: “The liberals are, for the most part, just trying to preserve the status quo.”

Other reasons: “conservative activists just pushed their agenda too far [and] that the five conservative justices on the court have very different legal philosophies, and the cases this term showed those splits in vivid color.”

The New York Times Editorial Board adds:  If the court’s decisions “reflect any particular trend, it is not a growing liberalism, but rather the failure of hard-line conservative activists trying to win in court what they have failed to achieve through legislation.”

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