There are some who claim it all started with the denial of Robert Bork’s confirmation. Others say it was the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas. Bush v. Gore no doubt created a serious partisan divide about how we view the Supreme Court. The refusal of Senate Republicans to even give Judge Merritt Garland a hearing inflamed the partisan view of the Court. The Supreme Court last term decided only 59 cases, the fewest decided since the 1800s. 19 were 5-4. Time will tell whether Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, but as it stands there will be a solid conservative majority that, unless something changes, will be viewed as a partisan body.
“The American public has long had a deep and abiding faith in the Supreme Court as the last say in our public legal disputes. … But in recent years, the public has soured somewhat on the Court. … Now experts say the political firestorm surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination could tip this trend toward a full-blown crisis,” Vox reports.
“‘If the Court loses legitimacy, either with the public as a whole or with one particular party, then political actors might be tempted to ignore it — which has happened before.’”