“Liberal wins at the Supreme Court may prove to be fleeting”

Lawrence Hurley for NBC News:

In several recent rulings, the Supreme Court unexpectedly handed wins to liberal advocates on election law, minority voting rights and Native American issues, but all three rulings were not conclusive.

That means contentious issues could return to the conservative-majority court, and — based on what some of the justices have said — the outcome next time could be very different.

The rulings have prompted debate over whether certain justices are wary of issuing too many broad rulings that move the law sharply to the right, possibly in response to claims that the court risks losing its legitimacy by being viewed as a partisan institution.

“In general this term it appears the court is working hard to find as much consensus as it can by resolving cases in narrow ways, leaving for the future bigger issues that underly those cases,” said Rick Pildes, a professor at the New York University School of Law.

Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the UCLA School of Law, said the voting rights and election cases both constitute “ticking time bombs” because of what was left undecided.

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