Court Monitor

Court Statistics Expose the Left's Influence

In the recently concluded Term of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Obama Administration won only 8 cases in which the U.S. Government was a party, while losing 13. Liberal Justices were willing to vote against Obama. But most of these cases were insignificant, and liberals were not willing to vote with conservatives on any of the landmark cases before the Court. As a result, the Left won nearly all of them.

Five out of the nine Supreme Court Justices were selected by Ronald Reagan and the two Bush presidents, so how is it that liberals are winning nearly all of the big cases?

A statistical analysis of voting patterns on the Court proves that compromise is a one-way street, as liberal Justices compromise with conservatives on only the insignificant cases, while conservatives compromise with liberals on the major ones. The Democrat-appointed Justices almost never join the conservative side in a decision of any political significance. Indeed, in the ten cases considered to be the most important in this last Term, no liberal Justice voted with the conservative side in any of them. By picking up a vote by a Republican-appointed Justice here and there, most often from Justice Kennedy, liberals were able to prevail in eight out of the ten big cases.

The national media thinks it has an influence, too. Glowing stories about Justice Kennedy, who is known to follow the press, appeared in the media in the run-up to his 5-4 decision for same-sex marriage. On the Monday before he issued his decision, the New York Times ran a spectacular front-page article that praised Justice Kennedy profusely. No such articles are published about the conservative Justices.

Alternatively, the media is known to punish Justices who cross them on a social issue. While Republican-appointed David Souter sided against liberals in his first abortion case, the New York Times began to mock how he was slow in writing opinions, derisively calling him "a black hole." Justice Souter quickly scampered to the liberal side and only positive publicity ensued. Justice Kennedy, then in his formative years on the Court, may have gotten the message too.

Personal dynamics on the increasingly chummy Court also helps the liberal side. Justice William Brennan, a gregarious liberal Irishman, took the overwhelmed new Justice Harry Blackmun under his wing and guided him to a radical pro-abortion position. In contrast, conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist was called "the Lone Ranger" on the Court.

The windfall is huge for the liberal side. While liberal Justices joined conservatives to rule against Obama on issues of little significance, liberals sided with conservatives in only 3 of the 26 cases this past Term decided by a close 6-3 or 5-4 vote. Liberals won the vast majority of the close votes because a Republican-appointed Justice sided with them more than four times as often as vice-versa in these cases.

It is essential that Republican presidents do a better job of screening candidates for the Supreme Court before nominating them, and part of that screening should include an assessment of fortitude against media and peer pressure.