During the full first term of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, the court has taken a sharp turn to the right. In June, the court ruled that local school authorities “cannot take modest steps to bring public school students of different races together.” It also upheld a ban on the so-called “partial birth” abortion procedure and repeatedly sided with big business in decisions.
According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, an increasing percentage of the American public is unhappy with this shift:
The percentage who said the court is “too conservative” grew from 19 percent to 31 percent in the past two years, while those who said it is “generally balanced in its decisions” declined from 55 percent to 47 percent. […]
[A] majority disagreed with the court’s decision that sharply restricted the ability of local school boards to use race when making school assignments to achieve diverse student bodies. Fifty-six percent of those polled disapproved of the decision; 40 percent approved.
During their nomination hearings, Roberts said he had “no agenda.” Alito said he would rule in a “neutral fashion.” Yet the two Bush nominees have sided with one another approximately 90 percent of the time.
The Senate is frustrated that the two justices have not lived up to their promises. Yesterday, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said that the Senate “should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush ‘except in extraordinary circumstances.'” Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who championed the nominations of Alito and Roberts, plans to review their Senate testimony to “determine if their reversal of several long-standing opinions conflicts with promises they made to senators to win confirmation.”