In a post Thursday, Howard Portnoy opined that the Left, despite its delight in Chief Justice John Roberts’s public reproach of Donald Trump, knows full well that judges’ rulings are informed to some degree by ideology. “As for the notion that ‘we do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,’” Howard wrote, “if that were true why would Democrats in the Senate have worked so hard to oppose Brett Kavanaugh, who typifies the ideals Roberts spoke about in his rebuke of Trump?”
As if more proof of this reality were needed, on Friday staunchly liberal Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer tweeted out what he presumed would be seen as a message of solidarity with Roberts and a further dismissal of Trump. Instead, his tweet — and especially the first paragraph — demonstrates precisely the president’s point.
I don’t agree very often with Chief Justice Roberts, especially his partisan decisions which seem highly political on Citizens United, Janus, and Shelby.
But I am thankful today that he—almost alone among Republicans—stood up to President Trump and for an independent judiciary.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 23, 2018
As it turns out, Roberts’s and Schumer’s claim about an “independent judiciary” is not just wrong; it’s hypocritical. As the Supreme Court’s own website acknowledges, since the arrival on the bench of Justice Neil Gorsuch, the four liberals have voted in concert than far more often than their conservative counterparts. As the chart below (via five-thirty-eight) reveals:
- Elena Kagan has voted with Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg an average of 89% of the time;
- Breyer has voted with Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg an average of 91% of the time;
- Ginsburg has voted with her fellow liberals an average of 91% of the time;
- Sotomayor has voted with the liberal flock 90.3% of the time.
In contrast, the four conservative judges have appeared far more open-minded:
- Neil Gorsuch has voted with Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts an average of 82.7% of the time;
- Thomas has voted with Gorsuch, Alito, and Roberts an average of 86.3% of the time;
- Alito has joined with his three right-leaning compatriots 85.7% of the time;
- Roberts has voted least often with the other conservative justices, registering only 80.7% agreement.