June 19, 2019
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, upheld a lower court’s ruling that the congressional districts that the (majority Republican) Virginia legislature had created were unconstitutional in that they had been designed to dilute the African-American vote. No surprise there.
What was surprising was the composition of the five justices in the majority. Justice Ginsberg (generally considered liberal) penned the decision, and was joined by Justices Kagan (general liberal), Sotomayor (generally liberal), Gorsuch (still early in the game, but a Trump appointee) and Thomas (seriously, almost freakishly, conservative).
Justice Ginsberg has indicated that there are probably a number of 5-4 decisions still to come this term, but I doubt we’ll ever see that combination in any Court decision again.