John mentioned the Alito confirmation in his post earlier about the SCOTUS decision, I looked for a more big picture consideration of this court. Certainly, it is one of the most divisive courts in memory, with a huge percentage of the decisions handed down with a 5-4 majority and the dissenting justices all vociferously objecting to the majority opinion. The American Consititution Society held a conference today to discuss the Roberts Court:
[T]his term we saw the Court announce the first amendment applies to corporations, in the Wisconsin Right to Life case, but not to students, in the Bong Hits 4 Jesus case. We saw the court announce that we should be deferential to state trial judges in criminal cases but not to democratically-elected local school boards in the schools cases. So if this is the birth of a new constitutional era, all I say is what an ugly baby.
As Tom Goldstein points out, in the eight years that Earl Warren presided as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, beginning in 1961, the Warren Court was responsible for the birth of the right to reproductive privacy, the beginning of meaningful school integration, the end of bans on interracial marriages, fundamental voting protections like "one person, one vote," and almost all of the rights which criminal defendants enjoy today.
If Earl Warren's Court could do so much in just eight years, the next decade could bring some very interesting times.