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History As It Happens

Sep 14, 2021

A slew of unsigned opinions from the Supreme Court, made from the "shadow docket" outside its normal procedures, have refocused Americans' attention on the importance of (and controversies over) whom is chosen to lead the judicial branch. With a 6-3 conservative majority after Donald Trump appointed three justices in his single term as president, the court is facing renewed allegations of excessive partisanship and ideological rigidity. SCOTUS expert Lawrence Baum, who has followed the court for more than a half century, discusses whether it is really more partisan and ideological than in past eras. That's because political battles over the federal bench go back to the dawn of the republic.