June 27, 2014
The Supreme Court's Powerful New Consensus (NEAL K. KATYAL, JUNE 26, 2014, NY Times)
FOR years, particularly after the 2000 election, talk about the Supreme Court has centered on its bitter 5-to-4 divisions. Yet it is worth reflecting on a remarkable achievement: The court has agreed unanimously in more than 66 percent of its cases this term (and that figure holds even if Monday's remaining two cases, on the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive coverage and on public-sector unions, are not unanimous). The last year this happened was 1940.The justices' ability to cross partisan divides and find common ground in their bottom-line judgment in roughly two-thirds of their cases -- including the two decisions handed down Thursday, restricting the president's ability to issue recess appointments during brief breaks in the Senate's work, and striking down a Massachusetts ban on protests near abortion clinics -- should remind us that even in this hyperpartisan age, there is a difference between law and politics.
The stage was set by W's appointment of John Roberts, instead of an ideologue, as Chief, and the UR's appointment of moderates. The only piece missing is Harriet Miers.
But we've got a Court that's not just conservative but collegial.
Posted by Orrin Judd at June 27, 2014 7:29 PM