Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


This Study, the fifteenth in a series, tabulates and analyzes the voting behavior of the United States Supreme Court during the 2000 Term. The analysis is designed to determine whether individual Justices and the Court as a whole are voting more "conservatively," more "liberally," or about the same when compared with past Terms. This Term's survey shows mixed results, but suggests slight liberal movement for the Court as a whole, following last Term's conservative voting trend. The Court voted more liberally in six of the ten categories of the Study this Term compared to last Term. However, the strength of this liberal trend is unknown. Factor analysis suggests that Civil/State Party cases are the best indicator of conservative/liberal bias this Term, and Swing-vote data (not subjected to factor analysis) also seems to provide a fairly reliable indication of the Court's ideological stance. In both of these categories, the Court showed conservative movement this Term. Therefore, it is difficult to state with assurance that the Court is moving in a sustained way along either a liberal or a conservative axis. It does seem clear, however, that the current Court is voting in identifiable blocs. The Civil/State Party category scores are indicative of this fact. A more indepth analysis of each category is set forth in Part IV of this Study.