This week, the Supreme Court concluded its term with a flurry of decisions that highlighted the stark political and ideological differences between the three liberal judges and the six conservative judges.
In order to further its ideological agenda, the court was willing to overturn long-standing precedent, according to President Joe Biden, who described it as "not a normal court.".
The six conservative, Republican-appointed justices sided with one another to reject Joe Biden's proposal to forgive student loans, to forbid US colleges and universities from using race as a factor in admissions decisions, and to permit creative individuals to decline to work on gay marriage-propaganda projects. Only scathing dissents were allowed from the three liberal, Democratic-appointed justices.
It follows historic rulings from last term that expanded gun ownership rights, reduced the reach of environmental regulations, and repealed abortion protections—all by the same six-to-three margin.
The court's rulings this term have had some nuance and a few surprises hidden beneath the headline cases. A majority that restrained some of the more ambitious Republican priorities, such as aggressive immigration enforcement and strengthening state power in opposition to the federal government, was occasionally formed by conservative justices who joined forces with their liberal counterparts.
The court upheld Mr. Biden's immigration policies, which prioritize the deportation of illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes or who have recently arrived in the US.
It supported clauses in the Voting Rights Act, a significant piece of civil rights legislation from the 1960s that demanded states guarantee minorities have representation in Congress and legislatures that is equal to their overall population.
It declined to support a right-wing theory that claimed state legislatures alone have the authority to conduct elections, a proposal that might have allowed states to void the outcome of any upcoming presidential election.
Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, claims that decisions like these reveal divisions among the court's conservative justices. While some are more in line with the current Republican Party platform, others support the more "traditional" conservative legal world from before President Donald Trump.
According to him, all conservatives were in agreement on topics like abortion and gun control. Nobody should mistake this court for being moderate, he says. However, there is a difference between the justice who I believe is further to the right and the median justice. ".
Given that conservatives currently hold the majority on the court, these divisions might become relevant when the new term starts in October. The US right is attempting to limit what it sees as the expansive power of the federal government in a number of potentially historic cases that the court will hear.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, a consumer-rights organization founded by Democrats following the 2008 financial crisis, is being contested as being unlawful in the first case.
Another relates to a well-established legal precedent that empowers government organizations to determine how laws are implemented and upheld.
In this term's student loan case and in a ruling made about how the Environmental Protection Agency could control greenhouse gas emissions last year, the court limited the ability of organizations to implement radical new regulations.
By further curtailing the authority of what many conservatives refer to as the "administrative state" in the coming term, the court could create a precedent that would make it even more difficult for presidents and their political appointees to circumvent Congressional gridlock and advance their policy objectives.