About that #SCOTUS Unanimity…A Skeptical Note

Today’s unanimous opinion in the cell phone cases is the latest in an unusual term of unanimity on the Supreme Court.

I don’t want to downplay things, but I think the unanimity is likely an aberration. To begin with, the Court is still divided on big issues like campaign finance. Witness the bitter divisions in McCutcheon this term.  Or Shelby County on voting rights last term. And it is still quite divided on abortion and same sex marriage, two issues not really on the agenda right now for the Court. And when this Court wants to duck tough issues it can: think of the last two affirmative action cases, Fisher and Schuette. Even though neither was 5-4, Fisher was a total punt and Schuette featured a bitter dispute between the Chief Justice and Justice Sotomayor.

So let’s not let the unanimity mask the point that on highly ideological and partisan charged issues, this Court is as divided as ever.

Let’s just wait for Hobby Lobby in the next few days.


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