SCOTUS Wonkery

Ken AshfordSupreme CourtLeave a Comment

Ignore the New York Times article which (somewhat misleadingly) headlines that SCOTUS shifted to the right this term.  While it's true, and also true that Kennedy (the swing vote) sided with "the right" more often than note, the "swing to the right" itself was negligible and doesn't mean anything.  That's because roughly 80 cases on diverse topics decided by nine different people don’t collectively produce clear themes. 

For those TRULY interested, it's better to look at the raw data at SCOTUSBlog, here.  I think the headline really is that the Supreme Court continued to be divided on idelogical grounds, with an unusual amount of 5-4 decisions (more so than any other time).  The fact that Kennedy (this year) went with the "right" on 11 of those decisions, and with the "left" on 4 of those decisions may simply be a factor of the types of cases on the docket, rather them some overarching trend to the right in general.

Better analysis here, too.