CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Court Under Roberts Is Most Conservative in Decades"

From The New York Times:

[T]he court not only moved to the right but also became the most conservative one in living memory, based on an analysis of four sets of political science data.

. . . .

Almost all judicial decisions, they say, can be assigned an ideological value. Those favoring, say, prosecutors and employers are said to be conservative, while those favoring criminal defendants and people claiming discrimination are said to be liberal.

Analyses of databases coding Supreme Court decisions and justices’ votes along these lines, one going back to 1953 and another to 1937, show that the Roberts court has staked out territory to the right of the two conservative courts that immediately preceded it by four distinct measures.

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While this may very well be true, I think that Liptak glosses over the issue by failing to consider the unique nature of judicial opinions. The results may be "conservative", but most of these opinions have been very narrow. PCAOB v. Free Enterprise Fund, for instance, did not invalidate any rulings by the PCAOB. It only said the structure by which board members are appointed and retain their position on the board must be changed. Thus, the impact of these "conservative" rulings might be minimal.

Posted by: Levi Swank | Jul 28, 2010 4:16:23 PM

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