Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


The 2004 Term, for the third straight year, notes a liberal trend on the Court. The outcomes tabulated on six of ten Tables in 2004, considered as a whole, manifest overall liberal movement. These results strengthen the hypothesis posed by last year's study that "the United States Supreme Court may have embarked on a new course." The stability of any such trend, however, may depend upon the voting behaviors of the two positions on the Court opened at the end of the 2005 Term. Chief Justice Rehnquist, statistically speaking, was the most conservative Member of the Court this Term as demonstrated by this Study's frontier analysis. The outcome of Criminal State cases, which provided the most reliable statistical indication of ideological bias this Term, has followed rather closely the voting behavior of Justice O'Connor. Accordingly, the "stability" of the ideological views of Chief Justice Roberts - as well as the voting behavior of the jurist finally confirmed to replace Justice O'Connor - will determine (in significant measure) whether the liberal trend noted the past three years continues into the future.