U.S. Supreme Court
A growing consensus on SCOTUS: More than half its decisions this term are unanimous
Posted Jun 24, 2014 6:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
More than half of the U.S. Supreme Court’s judgments will be unanimous when it completes this term, a first for the court under the leadership of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
The increase in 9-0 rulings is a marked change from just five years ago, when fewer than one-third of the Supreme Court’s cases were unanimous, USA Today reports.
As of the end of last week, 36 out of 57 argued cases produced unanimous judgments, the story says. Meanwhile, the court had issued only eight 5-4 decisions as of last week, compared to 23 last term.
The story says part of the reason for the “Kumbaya quotient” is that the court is deciding fewer controversial cases this term. Another reason: Roberts is seeking narrow decisions that can produce agreement, rather than broad, sweeping opinions. Experts also point to an increase in concurring opinions in which justices agree with a judgment, albeit not the reasoning behind it. And they note that some of the opinions are overturning aberrant rulings by an appeals court.