A law professor believe the U.S. Supreme Court is divided by thirds into conservatives, liberals and moderates.
“I think the most conservative members are Justice Thomas and next Justice Gorsuch, and close by probably Justice Samuel Alito,” Josh Blackman, professor at South Texas College of Law in Houston states.
In the middle, making up a more centrist coalition are Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the court’s newest member Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
“We learned that Justice Amy Coney Barrett was not the judicial torpedo that a lot of Democrats thought that she was going to be on things like Obamacare,” said Sarah Perry, legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
Finding an equilibrium of opinion is what some observers say drives the middle of the court to issue narrow opinions and decline some controversial issues. Roberts, Kavanaugh and Barrett joined the three liberal justices to refuse hearing the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington florist who’s being forced to use her art to celebrate a same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, Gorsuch joined the three centrists to block hearing a transgender bathroom case from Virginia.
“The court’s conservatives, at least three or four of them , do not want to get bogged down in the transgender issue,” Blackman said. “I think they want to stay away from it. I think they hope it just goes away and disappears, but you know and I know these things just don’t vanish, they just brew up and develop controversy year after year.”
Next term, the court will tackle several hot-button issues such as New York’s handgun law and an abortion case from Mississippi that strikes at the heart of Roe v. Wade.
“The fact that they have relegated this decision on whether or not pre-viability restrictions are constitutional indicates to us that they are going directly to the heart of the matter and will make a determination as to whether or not Roe was good law,” Perry said. “I don’t think there are enough judges with the backbone to do it.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice