(The Washington Post) – Supreme Court experts have been looking for the right word to describe the term’s record number of agree-not-to-disagree unanimous decisions: Faux-nimity? Un-unanimous?
The number of rulings without dissent skyrocketed to rates not seen since the 1940s, and the court’s percentage of closely divided decisions dropped to a modern low.
Such cases can mask deeper conflicts, and those were on display in the term’s finale this week. The decisions announced Monday showed that stark divisions — conservative opposed to liberal; Republican appointees on one side, Democratic ones on the other; even women vs. men — exist on the court beneath a frequent veneer of 9-to-0 comity.
“The court is still deeply divided on fundamental issues,” said Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.