Have you heard? There’s a liberal majority on the U.S. Supreme Court!

From the files of, “How skewed is this guy’s world view?” comes this gem from Patrick Dorwin of Badger Blogger:

The Liberal majority on the US Supreme Court has ruled that since California prisons are overcrowded, they must release up to 46,000 inmates.

U.S. Supreme Court expert Patrick Dorwin based his assertion that the Supreme Court has a “liberal majority” on an order issued yesterday by the court that the state of California must release tens of thousands of inmates or take other steps to ease overcrowding in its prisons to prevent “needless suffering and death.”

While Dorwin may want to believe there’s a liberal majority on the U.S. Supreme Court based solely on one decision issued by the court, I’d argue – and I’m sure I’m not alone – that there is no clear-cut majority on the court. Instead, there are two distinct blocs of four conservative justices (Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia) and four liberal justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagen) with Justice Anthony Kennedy as a true swing vote. While the Court’s order yesterday may be seen as a “liberal” decision, the court’s decision in the Citizens United case could very easily be seen as a “conservative” decision.

At any rate, here’s the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, along with the presidents that appointed the sitting justices.

  • John Roberts (George W. Bush – Republican)
  • Antonin Scalia (Ronald Reagan – Republican)
  • Anthony Kennedy (Ronald Reagan – Republican)
  • Clarence Thomas (George H.W. Bush – Republican)
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Bill Clinton – Democrat)
  • Stephen Breyer (Bill Clinton – Democrat)
  • Samuel Alito (George W. Bush – Republican)
  • Sonia Sotomayor (Barack Obama – Democrat)
  • Elena Kagen (Barack Obama – Democrat)

By my count, that’s four justices appointed by Democratic presidents and five justices appointed by Republican presidents.

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