An analysis of the Supreme Court’s decisions from this past term has shown that it is now more conservative than in previous generations.
The far right tilt is largely due to Republicans were able to block the Democratic nomination in 2016, when former President Barack Obama selected now-Attorney General Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia following the justice’s unexpected death; at the time, Republicans claimed that Garland’s appointment would be taking place too soon before the upcoming presidential election. When liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died while former President Donald Trump was in office, however, Republicans confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett just days before the 2020 presidential election — a move that many have condemned as blatantly hypocritical.
A split Supreme Court, composed of four liberals and four conservatives, was only a few years ago, is now a 6-3 split for the conservative bloc.
According to an analysisLee Epstein and Kevin Quinn are statistics professors at Washington University, St. Louis and University of Michigan. It has been many decades since this conservative Supreme Court.
Per their research, in the 2021 judicial term, Republican-appointed justices were part of the majority opinion 86 percent of the time, while Democratic-appointed justices took part in 62 percent of the majority opinions issued — a 24-point gap. This gap is 14-point higher than the one-term prior and 21-point greater than what it was in 2002.
Nonunanimous rulings have been more commonplace this past year, with 72.4 percent of all decisions issued having at least one dissenting justice — the highest rate since 1979.
Within those nonunanimous rulings, 73.8 percent had outcomes that were deemed conservative-leaning, the highest level since 1931. In all cases examined, including those with unanimous rulings, 63.2 percent of outcomes were conservative — the highest level ever seen, out of the data that the researchers compiled dating back to 1920.
The data clearly shows that Court has taken a hard-right turn, but recent rulings in critical cases have also revealed its right-wing extremism. This year, The Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of precedent on abortion rightsWhen the conservative bloc was overturned Roe v. Wade. The Court also issued decisions New York has relaxed its gun laws, Restrained environmental standards and regulatory powerEnvironmental Protection Agency The lines between church & state have blurredIn a contentious case of school prayer.
The Court’s far right turn — particularly its recent attack on bodily autonomy and abortion rights — is likely why public confidence in the institution has eroded to record lows. According to polling from Gallup, only 25 percent of Americans say they have either “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the Court. This number is 11 points lower than it was last year. the lowest rating the Court has received since Gallup started asking the question in 1973.