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U.S. Supreme Court

Scalia as swing voter? So far this term he has sided with the majority every time

Posted Mar 17, 2014 1:35 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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File photo of U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Antonin Scalia courtesy
of ABA Media Services.

Justice Antonin Scalia has been in the majority in all of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions issued so far this term, according to new statistics released today.

SCOTUSblog compiles the statistics, which show Scalia siding with the majority in the 27 opinions issued through March 10. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, sometimes described as the swing voter, was in the majority in 24 of 27 opinions, equaling the record of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and just ahead of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who sided with the majority in 23 of 27 opinions. The statistics are here (PDF).

SCOTUSblog says Kennedy’s dissent in three cases so far this term “is somewhat surprising given that there have only been seven divided cases during the term.” Two of the cases in which he dissented involved statutory interpretation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act.

None of the decisions issued so far has split by a 5-4 margin. One case was decided 8-1, three cases split 7-2, and three split 6-3, according to this chart (PDF). As the end of the term draws near this spring, however, the split votes are likely to be more numerous.

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