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U.S. Supreme Court


Will Obama Become the Next William Howard Taft?

Did the president hint at his potential career ambition of becoming a Supreme Court justice during a recent news conference?

What Does Mitt Romney Think About Chief Justice John Roberts?

A look back at what Romney and the 2012 GOP field said about the now controversial Chief Justice who wrote to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act.

Obama vs the Supreme Court: Rhetoric of the 44th President

Obama's critical comments of the Court outweigh favorable comments by more than a 4:1 margin since taking office.

Will Confidence in Supreme Court Erode or Rebound After Obamacare Decision?

The U.S. Supreme Court's net confidence rating during Barack Obama's presidency is at an all-time low since Gallup's measurement began in the early 1970s.

Humphrey Institute Event to Examine Impact of Citizens United

Includes panelists from Common Cause Minnesota, Alliance for a Better Minnesota, and the executive director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

Increased Partisan Opposition in Kagan Confirmation Vote Continues Historical Trend

Six of the last seven presidents have faced increased opposition to get their second SCOTUS justice seated; Kagan receives third most 'nay' votes among successful nominees in history

The Great Divide: Birth States of U.S. Supreme Court Justices

Only 11 of 111 justices have been born in the 24 states west of the Mississippi River; just 25 percent over the last 50 years

Breeding Brilliant Legal Minds: Minnesotans on the U.S. Supreme Court

No other state west of the Mississippi River has given birth to more justices than the Gopher State

Should Kagan's Partisan Past and Policy Work Derail Her Confirmation?

Over half of Supreme Court Justices throughout history have served in or sought partisan legislative or executive offices

History Suggests Kagan Confirmation Process Will Be Rockier than Sotomayor's

Presidents since Woodrow Wilson have faced increased Senatorial opposition in attempts to get their second Supreme Court Justice seated; only 1 such nominee out of 13 received greater support from Senate

A Year in Smart Politics

A brief survey of five of the top stories at Smart Politics in 2009

Republican Opposition to Sotomayor Marks Largest Supreme Court Confirmation Vote Dissent in GOP History

Last week's vote in the U.S. Senate confirming Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court was noteworthy foremost, of course, for Sotomayor being the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the Court. But the Senate vote was also significant for the Republicans and what emerged...

Republican Senators Ignore 'Hispanic Effect' in Sotomayor Confirmation Vote

In the months after President Barack Obama's selection of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, political analysts and even a few Republicans (e.g. Joe Scarborough) have characterized GOP opposition to and harsh questioning of the new Associate Justice as politically unwise. Such Republican Senators were cautioned and urged to...

Are Supreme Court Justices Living Longer?

Yesterday Smart Politics challenged the popular notion that Presidents have been eying younger Supreme Court nominees in recent years, presumably to deepen their impact and legacy on the Supreme Court as the judicial branch has become seen as more partisan. But an analysis of U.S. Senate confirmation data found the...

Are Supreme Court Nominees Getting Younger?

Many commentators and political analysts have speculated that Barack Obama's nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court was based not only on his agreement with her judicial philosophy, but also her gender, ethnicity (Hispanic), and youth (54 years old). In fact, political observers have...

How Many Senators Will Vote for the Next Supreme Court Nominee?

With the recent announcement by Associate Justice David Souter that he intends to retire from the Supreme Court this year, all eyes are on President Barack Obama to see who he will send up to the U.S. Senate for confirmation hearings in the coming weeks or months. Obama, of course,...

Does Supreme Court Abortion Decision Signify Shift in Attitudes?

In a 5-4 decision reached last week the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a federal ban on the medical procedure known as 'partial birth abortion.' The procedure was a rallying cry for right-to-life advocates, although even some abortion rights supporters were in favor of the ban. But...



Political Crumbs

Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


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