Supreme Court Decisions Affirm Liberals’ Fears
The Supreme Court’s 2020-2021 term has been a win for the Republican Party. As the Supreme Court now has six conservative justices in its nine seats, liberals feared right-leaning supreme court decisions. Those fears have been affirmed this term.
The justices have found common ground on many of the cases they’ve heard. But Supreme Court decisions about the Voting Rights Act and life sentences for juveniles served as stark reminders that the court leans right. Next term, hot-button issues will test how far the conservative majority is willing to go.
The court found some common ground
Forty-three percent of the court’s decisions this term have been unanimous. This is only slightly below the court’s ten-year average of 46%. Another 21% of cases have been close to unanimous, with just one or two dissenting votes. This means that nearly two-thirds of the time, the court has not been completely polarized.
Some polarized decisions stand out
Despite finding common ground much of the time, the court has been more divided in this term than in recent years. The share of completely polarized decisions – 15% – has increased from its 15-year average of 10%.
Several of those polarized decisions stand out. For example, the court’s decision to curb use of the Voting Rights Act alarmed liberal and pro-democracy groups. And its decision to make it easier for courts to give life sentences to juveniles was heavily dissented by all three liberal justices.
These Supreme Court decisions serve as stark reminders that the court leans right. For liberals, this paves the way to an uncertain and uncomfortable future.
The next term will be telling
The court is sure to have many more unanimous and nearly unanimous decisions in its future. But liberals fear that on hot-button issues, it will show its true colors.
Next term, several of those issues are on the docket, including cases on abortion and the Second Amendment. How the court rules on those issues will reveal how far to the right it will bend. Depending on its decisions, liberals and the millions of people the decisions affect may have frustrating days ahead.