Is the Court Tracking Right or Roberts Left?

While Supreme Court Justices’ votes are not purely the product of ideological preferences, some of the most important cases the justices decide come down to 5-4 splits along ideological lines. This was especially apparent during the 2017 Supreme Court term.  Even though Chief Justice Roberts was in the conservative camp for many of these split…

Ideological or Individual Rifts: Justice Thomas at the Edge of the Court

There is and has been a clear ideological division between the more conservative and liberal Justices on the Court, especially in cases with high profile civil rights issues such as marriage equality. A not so often examined aspect of this fissure has to do with the cohesion of the individual voting blocs. For instance, Justice…

Has The Supreme Court Turned a Liberal Tide?

The pieces are in place.  With Justice Scalia’s death the liberals on the Court (both ideologically speaking and by virtue of their appointments by Democratic Presidents) are matched evenly with the Court’s conservatives for the first time in almost half a century.  The last time a majority of Justices appointed by democrats sat on the…

Forecasting Votes in Hellerstedt

On March 2nd, the Court heard oral arguments in perhaps the most publicized case of the Term – Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (No. 15-274).  The case brings into question Texas’ new controversial law limiting who can perform abortions. Prior to oral arguments expectations were already high that the Justices would split along ideological lines…

The Breyer Court? (Network Analysis of the Justices Votes in OT 2014)

In political science ideal points are the most common measure describing judges’ votes.  The goal of ideal points in the study of courts is locating the relative political ideology of a judge on a scale of liberal to conservative.  Of course what it actually means to be a conservative or liberal judge is somewhat contested….