A computer analysis has revealed that during five terms under Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court has become "the most conservative one in living memory," according to The New York Times. If the trend continues, the Times said, future decisions will probably allow a greater role for religion in public life and broaden the Second Amendment right to bear arms, while curtailing abortion rights, affirmative action, and other liberal causes. What does the Times' assessment tell us about the state of the court?
The court is now far-Right: The Supreme Court's conservative tilt is no secret, says Daniel De Groot at Open Left, but these statistics are jarring. Four of the six most conservative justices since 1937 are serving now, and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, this court's "swing justice," is in the top 10. And the court's conservative shift will only accelerate as relative newcomers John Roberts and Samuel Alito "grow into the jobs and hit their full stride, confident in their impunity."
"NYT: Roberts court most conservative in decades"
The court is inching to the right — and it's about time: The Supreme Court is only as conservative as swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy is, says Ed Whelan at National Review, and he's by no means a sure vote for the Right. And while the court under Roberts has taken "a small step to the right," that only inches it toward the center after "decades of liberal judicial activism." The real danger is that Obama will get to replace Justice Antonin Scalia or Kennedy — both of whom are 74. That circumstance would swing the court wildly to the left.
"'NYT Supreme Court coverage under Liptak is most conservative in decades'"
George W. Bush's stamp on the court is indelible: It's obvious that "Bush's largest victory in his two terms was the appointments of Sam Alito and John Roberts to the Supreme Court," says blogger Zandar at No More Mister Nice Blog. The replacement of swing vote Sandra Day O'Connor with the reliably conservative Alito was "the big flip." The Roberts court is already "reversing some eighty years of precedent," but if a conservative president ever gets the chance to add one more vote to the "Alito-Scalia-Roberts-Thomas bloc" the right will really "break the dam."
"It only took five years ..."