How many Supreme Court 5 to 4 decisions have set your teeth on edge? How many have turned the word “democracy” upside down? How many have made a difference in your lives?
How many would have turned out differently had there been one more Supreme Court justice who didn’t hang out with the Koch brothers or marry a lobbyist, tea party group founder who leaves voice mails for Anita Hill?
What would happen if a Republican were to win the White House in 2012? How would SCOTUS decisions look then? 6-3? 7-2? It could happen. Think about that when you read this, from the New York Times:
The program itself is novel and complicated, and allowing it to go forward may be of no particular moment. But by closing the courthouse door to some kinds of suits that claim violations of the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion, the court’s ruling in the case may be quite consequential.
Guess who were the 5 (Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.) and guess who were the 4 (Justices Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor).
Important numbers to remember.