Today, the United States Supreme Court issued its final two opinions of the term with widely-anticipated rulings involving the Affordable Care Act and union fees. The justices split 5-4, in both opinions along ideological lines, with Justice Alito writing the majority opinions. Although a 5-4 split was widely expected in these two particular cases, commentators routinely claim that the United States Supreme Court is deeply divided along ideological lines in many, if not most, cases.
However, a recent article in the New York Times calls into question this idea. The article’s authors analyzed data on how often each Supreme Court justice agreed with the other justices in the last four terms. The study concluded that “[o]ver the past four terms, even the members of the court least likely to agree voted together 65 percent of the time.”
Do the findings of this article surprise you? Perhaps the Supreme Court needs to listen to the advice of one of my colleagues: “SCOTUS needs a new PR firm!”