In the Supreme Court, as well as in Congress, it is typical for justices and members of legislation to vote according to party sides and to make allegiances to others in their own party only. However, a few conservative justices in the Supreme Court have recently voted on several issues that went against the norm.
When President Trump appointed Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, the court began to shift far more to the right ideologically. But rulings from the most recently ended term prove that these two new members, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts, don’t always vote along party sides.
In a number of cases, each of them has chosen to side with their liberal counterparts.
Most recently, Roberts voted with liberals against the citizenship question being added to the 2020 census. Also, this past week, Gorsuch voted twice with Democrats to block criminal statutes. And earlier in the year, Kavanaugh ruled with liberals against Apple in an antitrust case.
Now before you begin to get concerned, this proves that Trump really does know what he is doing. In appointing these new justices, he has chosen members who will not just fight for the party at all costs but will stand for what is right and just.
That is the point after all, isn’t it? The whole purpose of the Court is to decide on matters of great importance for our nation. Not just on what members of the opposing party say but on what is the best choice for the country as a whole.
Some of these recent rulings had many believing that these three could take over the role played by former Justice Anthony Kennedy as a swing vote before he retired last year. However, experts agree that none of the conservative justices can be defined as such.
Susan Bloch, a law professor at Georgetown University recently said in an interview that “Collectively, we may have the three of them acting as swing votes in several different areas,” as they don’t always stick to party lines.
However, for the most part, the three justices still side with the rest of the conservative party in most cases.
Kavanaugh’s only sidestep was the case against Apple, even though it was a very high-profile one that caused many, including conservatives, Rush Limbaugh and Ben Shapiro, to criticize his patriotism to the right. Other than that, he sided with the right every time and seemed to agree with Chief Justice Roberts 94% of the time. Though many, including statistician Adam Feldman for SCOTUSblog, think this may be a way of lying low for a while due to his rocky confirmation and allegation of sexual assault.
Gorsuch only chose a more liberal side four times this past term, and nearly all of them were over criminal statutes, leaving many to believe that in cases of individual liberties he seems to have more of a mind of his own. Former Justice Kennedy tended to do the same. However, Feldman also noted that his higher percentage to flip sides might have more to do with the kind of cases that were placed before the Supreme Court this past term than any other reasoning.
And Chief Justice Roberts has not backed down any on his conservative outlook, either. Feldman says that Roberts still votes conservatively on most matters. However, he is known for his actions in preventing a backlash against the court, in particular when it comes to cases that are very divisive and high-profile. Feldman considers this to be the reasoning of why he would have voted the way he did in the recent citizenship question on the census decision, as well as the Affordable Care Act earlier in the year.
While it might worry some that these conservatives might occasionally stray to the crazy side, it proves to America as a whole that they are trying to do their jobs in the best way they know how, while still keeping their morals and standards in place. Keeping ‘liberty and justice for all’ isn’t an easy task, and sometimes it means stepping on some toes and doing the unexpected. Something we should all strive to do on a daily basis.