Supreme Court ideology continues to lean conservative, new data shows
The Supreme Court continued to lean conservative during its most recent term, according to preliminary data.
Driving the news: Preliminary data following a contentious 2022-23 Supreme Court term shows Justice Brett Kavanaugh remained the court's "median justice."
- That means the court is conservative enough that its center falls squarely on the right.
- Justice Samuel Alito became the court's most conservative member, surpassing Justice Clarence Thomas for the first time since both have served on the high court.
How it works: The "Martin-Quinn score," developed by Andrew D. Martin of Washington University in St. Louis and Kevin Quinn of Emory University, measures the ideology of Supreme Court justices dating back to 1937.
- The score is calculated using data from each Supreme Court term and measured on an "ideological continuum."
- The current estimates are preliminary, and final versions of the scores will be available later in the summer.
Details: In her first term on the court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was on the liberal side, but less so than justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.
- Historically, the court's most conservative median justice was Byron White in 1988, with a Martin-Quinn score of 1.096, compared with Kavanaugh's 0.524 this term.
The big picture: The recent term also saw wins for voting rights, including the justices deciding that states' election laws can be challenged in court and striking down a Republican-drawn congressional map in Alabama.