The Supreme Court has only been out of session for a week, but it certainly isn’t difficult to recognize some of the steps the Roberts Court has taken in its second full term -- or perhaps more accurately, the steps it has taken backward. Alliance for Justice’s End of Term Report lays out the causes, statistics, and so-called logic behind the Court’s right-wing bias in 2007-08.
For example, the past year saw a dramatic decrease in 5-4 decisions -- last term, about one-third of the Court’s decisions were 5-4, compared to about one-sixth this term. More than anything, this may have been due to an effort from the moderate justices to alleviate some of the damage done by ideological decisions by siding with the conservative majority in narrower rulings.
Whether considering the Court’s opinions in DC v. Heller or Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, this term solidified the conservative justices’ hold on the institution and provided a further glimpse into the true agenda of the Court’s right wing. Now more than ever, the replacement of a single justice could have devastating consequences for American law, unleashing the full force of a conservative bloc currently tempered by an astute and persuasive minority and an unpredictable fifth vote.
Such a term makes it difficult to look forward to next October.