Fast Facts on “Balance” and the Supreme Court

  • Before Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, there were 3 conservatives, 4 liberals, and one swing vote on the Supreme Court. (Sources: USA Today, The Washington Post)
  • The 3 conservative justices are Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch. (Sources: USA Today, The Washington Post)
  • The 4 liberal justices are Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. (Sources: USA Today, The Washington Post)
  • Chief Justice Roberts was described as a conservative during his confirmation proceedings. However, upon reviewing the voting records of the justices, The Washington Post found that Chief Justice Roberts is a swing vote. (Sources: USA Today, The Washington Post)
  • Liberal and conservative judges think very differently about how broad the powers of the Court are. (Source: NPR)
  • According to data from, liberal judges tend to vote the same, as more of a bloc, while conservative judges are more likely to disagree with each other on legal interpretation. (Sources: CNBC, Scotusblog)
  • Appointing a “moderate” or “swing” justice would not result in a more “balanced” Supreme Court over time. (Source: The Washington Post)
  • The Supreme Court is not supposed to be “balanced” -- balance should be irrelevant. NPR reports that the issue of “balance” only came about recently when judges began politicizing the Court. (Source: NPR)
  • If judges abided by their constitutional role of apolitical, unbiased judges, then there would be no need for political balance on the Court. (Source: NPR)

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