Some Blurred Lines: The 2022-2023 Supreme Court Term

By Alice K. Jump

The popular conception of the current Supreme Court is that it has a conservative 6-3 super majority that will follow Republican doctrine when it comes to striking down affirmative action, eroding LGBTQ rights, and invalidating student loan forgiveness. The politically charged decisions of the past term certainly give some credence to that view. But, as is always the case, many of the Court’s decisions deviate from the stereotype of an intractable liberal/conservative division.

Here are a few examples from the recent term.

Unanimous Decisions

Nearly 47% of the Court’s rulings were unanimous, including a 9-0 ruling in favor of a postal service worker who was fired for refusing to work on the Christian Sabbath [1] and cases which generally upheld immunity for social media sites from claims based on user content.[2] In reality, a large percentage of the Court’s docket concerns technical legal interpretations on which there is general consensus.

The 5-4 Decision where Justices Thomas and Sotomayor were on opposite sides from Justices Alito and Jackson.

Perhaps the decision that produced the oddest alignment was the case of National Pork Producers Council et al. v. Ross et al., where the Court upheld a California law requiring that pork produced in other states but sold in California meet California’s anti-cruelty standards.[3]

Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh decide in favor of voter protection.

In two cases involving voting rights and federal elections, Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh sided with the three Democratic appointed Justices to sustain a challenge under the Voting Rights Act to Alabama’s voting map, which resulted in only one majority Black district, [4] and to affirm the long-standing view that State Courts have the power to review election laws passed by state legislatures for unconstitutionality.[5]  

The cases cited above show that perceived ideology does not always hold sway, and the factual and legal arguments may still create alliances.

This article is intended as a general discussion of these issues only and is not to be considered legal advice or relied upon. For more information, please contact RPJ Partner Alice K. Jump who counsels clients on litigation, alternative dispute resolution and business counseling, with particular emphasis on representing clients in the financial services and real estate industries as well as educational and non-profit institutions. Ms. Jump is admitted to practice law in New York and before the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


[1] See Groff v. Dejoy

[2] See Reynaldo Gonzalez et al. v. Google LLC; Twitter, Inc. et al., v. Mehier Taamneh et al.

[3] See National Pork Producers Council et al. v. Ross et al.

[4] See Allen et al. v. Milligan et al.

[5] See Moore et al. v. Harper et al.