Do conservatives have the edge in the Supreme Court?

Until this week, I thought they did, but now I’m not so sure. One decision is just one decision, but what a case! (I may be slightly biased because I have gone without health coverage for years, so I personally benefit greatly from this decision.)

The liberals (or the solidly center-left group, whatever label you want to assign them) have a tight bloc of four that doesn’t see much defection in the big cases. The conservatives have a bloc of three that are even tighter and extremely right wing. But that group of three, to get a majority. needs to get both Roberts and Kennedy to support their side, whereas the liberals only need to pick off one of the two. In game theory terms, I as a liberal (“progressive”) am not sure if I’d trade places with them (that is, for instance: trade Kagan for two justices who are the SCOTUS equivalents of Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson).

It’s just one case. According to analysis here, conservatives are in the majority in 5-4 decisions much more than liberal judges:



Percent presence in the majority in 5-4 decisions:
Kennedy Roberts Scalia  Thomas  Alito   Breyer  Sotomayor Ginsburg Kagan
75      62      62      62      62      50      50        38       38

But that analysis is already out of date:

Only one? For the “truly divisive cases”? I think not.

I don’t think so. The law is not as easily politicized as current affairs are via elected officials.

Roberts isn’t a conservative now?

The conservatives have the edge. Kennedy tends to vote in favor of whichever side is arguing for individual liberty. Sometimes that’s the left, and sometimes that’s the right. He’s only predictable when it comes to gay rights (in favor, but not by much) and criminal procedure (he generally votes in favor of the government).

Overall, he votes more often with the conservatives than with the liberals. He used to be even more conservative; he voted with Rehnquist 92% of the time.

One decision is one decision. Period.

Scalia gets too much heat for being a conservative and frankly just being himself. I dont agree with him most of the time but I dont have a problem with him expressing his views as a judge. An “activist” judge is always a judge you do not agree with.