Is the Supreme Court liberal or conservative?

Despite the victories in the same-sex marriage and Obamacare cases, the general impression that people have is that the US Supreme Court is ideologically conservative. The meaning of labels like ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ and ‘left’ and ‘right’ are notoriously hard to pin down and are operationally elusive and I would love to be able to avoid them but cannot because they do provide a rough but convenient shorthand description for a general attitude, and thus avoids having to provide detailed descriptions.
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The next stage of the war against same-sex marriage

The next stage in the war waged by same-sex marriage opponents is becoming clear. Forget the bluster about passing a constitutional amendment specifically banning it or impeaching the supreme court justices who voted in favor of it and replacing them with justices who will vote in the opposite way. Those things will never, ever happen and are just red meat thrown out to the rubes by politicians to get them all riled up.
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Using the Hobby Lobby precedent against same-sex marriage

Conservatives are losing their minds over last week’s double whammy they received from the US Supreme Court on Obamacare and same-sex marriage and are trying to find ways to defy the rulings. While there is little they can do about the Obamacare decision except vow to repeal it whenever they get the opportunity to do so after some future election success, they have more options with same-sex marriage.
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Two more important Supreme Court opinions to be issued today

Today is the last day for the current term of the US Supreme Court and three opinions are still to be issued. Although the extremely high profile ones of Obamacare and same-sex marriage are done, I am particularly interested in two of the remaining ones, dealing as they do with gerrymandering and the death penalty. (The third remaining opinion to be issued is Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency as to “Whether the Environmental Protection Agency unreasonably refused to consider costs in determining whether it is appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities” and pits the power plant industry against the EPA.)
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Which justice switched on Obamacare?

One interesting point of the Obamacare verdict was its 6-3 nature. Recall that the opponents of Obamacare had lost their case in all the Appeals Courts where it had been heard. They won 2-1 only in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and then that court decided that the case would be heard en banc, i.e., reheard by the entire bench. It was predicted that the full court would reverse the decision by the three-judge panel, thus making the Appeals Courts results unanimous again.
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Reflections on the same-sex marriage Supreme Court opinions

I finally got around to reading all the opinions (majority and four dissents) in yesterday’s 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges affirming the right of same sex couples to marry. The opinion went far beyond what I had hoped for and predicted, and can be considered a maximal outcome, giving same-sex couples pretty much everything they asked for and deserve, that they be allowed to exercise exactly the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples and that this applies to all the states.
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Supreme Court affirms right of same sex marriage

In a huge decision released just now, today the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that bans on same-sex marriages were unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by Kagan, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.

This is a great day for the LGBT community and for everyone who believes in equal rights.

The ruling seems to go well beyond what I expected but I will write more about this later when I have had time to read the opinions and dissents. Unfortunately today is a very busy day for me.

But for now, all I will say is congratulations to those who fought so hard for this day.

Chief Justice Roberts getting hammered over Obamacare ruling

As expected, the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to uphold the Obama administration’s understanding of the Obamacare law and reject the plaintiff’s claims that only health exchanges set up by the state could be used to provide the federal tax subsidies that made health insurance affordable to many has created a furious reaction from the right-wingers who seem to have become almost unhinged (I compiled a list of some of the immediate reactions yesterday.) The vehemence may be partly explained by their overly optimistic expectations that they would win, since they had won in the Appeals Court.
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Schadenfreude over the rage and tears of Obamacare opponents

So the reviews are coming in from the right wing nutcases following today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the subsidies provided by the federal exchanges in those states that did not set up state exchanges. They were predicted to be over the top and they did not disappoint, essentially claiming that democracy is dead and the system of government envisioned by the country’s founders has been replaced by a tyrannical president supported by judicial activist Supreme Court.
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