This week, the Supreme Court handed down a controversial judgment on Arizona’s SB1070, and is expected to rule on the Affordable Care Act in the coming days.
In the past, the Roberts court has frequently been divisive between the conservative and liberal wings, with decisions on major cases being ruled 5-4 or 6-3. In Gonzalez v. Carhart, the Roberts Court ruled 5-4 that partial-birth abortions could be banned. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the court ruled, 5-4, that the Second Amendment protected the right to keep firearms in the home. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the court ruled, again 5-4, that the government can’t restrict independent political contributions by corporations and unions. Sensing a trend?
Are we in the most partisan Supreme Court in history? Or has the court always been viewed as legislating from the bench? Is it even possible to have a non-partisan Supreme Court?
Vincent Bonventre, professor of Law, Albany Law School; author, New York Court Watcher