Monday, July 06, 2015

SUPREME COURT - Still Conservative

"Despite some high-profile liberal wins, why the Supreme Court hasn’t shifted" PBS NewsHour 7/1/2015


SUMMARY:  From legalizing gay marriage to upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has just finished up a momentous term.  Jeffrey Brown speaks to Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal, Joan Biskupic of Reuters, and Amy Howe of about the high-profile liberal victories this term, the colorful rhetoric used in justices’ dissents and what big cases to expect next year.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  So, the case on the health care law, with Secretary Burwell named as a defendant, was, of course, just one decision in a dramatic and, some believe, historic Supreme Court session.

That session started last October, and it ended this week.  In all, the high court heard 67 cases.  Many of the most significant rulings came out in just the past seven days.  And some of the decisions showed surprise splits among the justices.

Jeffrey Brown looks at what we learned from and about the court.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  The court’s 2015 session took on a big and broad landscape, free speech, the rights of pregnant workers, housing discrimination, the use of lethal injection, and, of course, the fate of Obamacare, and the definition of marriage itself.

We take our own big and broad look with three of the country’s top Supreme Court watchers, Joan Biskupic, legal affairs editor for Reuters and author of biographies of Justices Scalia and Sotomayor; Amy Howe, editor of SCOTUSblog; and, of course, our own regular contributor Marcia Coyle of “The National Law Journal,” author of the book “The Roberts Court.”

Welcome to you all.

Joan, you start us off.

Was there a big theme that you saw emerge from this term?

JOAN BISKUPIC, Reuters:  Well, you know, we always try to isolate the courts for the one term.

But the court never sits still to just say, OK, just judge us by this term.  So we have to step back a little bit.  Of course, we had the upholding for the second time of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which was big for so many of your viewers.  We had this fundamental right to same-sex marriage declared.

And those two sort of gave the court a little bit of liberal identification, but the truth is that this is still pretty much of a conservative court.  They also upheld the lethal injection nationwide for death penalty.  So I would say that we saw several things, but mostly what it comes down to is, it depends on the case, it depends on Anthony Kennedy, our traditional swing vote justice.

And this time, he did go more with the liberals.  And for the Chief himself, we saw him going in both directions, but still being very consistent for himself.

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