Don’t let this week’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Corley v. U.S. – where the justices split along ideological lines with Justice Anthony Kennedy again serving as swing voter – fool you. This term, the justices are opting more often to agree to agree.
So far this term, nearly half of the Court’s opinions have either been unanimous or nearly so, reports AP’s Mark Sherman.
Corley is the eighth decision this term in which the Court split 5-4. In six of those splits, Kennedy was the swing voter, joining the Court’s so-called conservative bloc four times, and the liberals twice. Two 5-4 opinions had no clear ideological connection.
Since the Court developed a reputation as having a strong ideological divide in its October 2006 term, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. has often expressed a desire to see more consensus among the justices. In 2007, Roberts said: “The court functions most effectively as a judicial institution saying what the law is when it can deliver one clear and focused opinion of the court.”
It is unclear whether Roberts’ stewardship is behind the justices seeing more eye to eye.