Politics

For These Supreme Court Justices, Unanimous Doesn’t Mean Unity

In this May 22, 2013, customers enter and exit a Hobby Lobby store in Denver. The Supreme Court is poised to deliver its verdict in a case that weighs the religious rights of employers and the right of women to the birth control of their choice. Employers must cover contraception for women at no extra charge among a range of preventive benefits in employee health plans. Dozens of companies, including the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, claim religious objections to covering some or all contraceptives. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)
In this May 22, 2013, customers enter and exit a Hobby Lobby store in Denver. The Supreme Court is poised to deliver its verdict in a case that weighs the religious rights of employers and the right of women to the birth control of their choice. Employers must cover contraception for women at no extra charge among a range of preventive benefits in employee health plans. Dozens of companies, including the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, claim religious objections to covering some or all contraceptives. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

 

(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 decisionsFaux-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.

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