It was not a quiet term for the Supreme Court. In addition to its landmark campaign finance reform and gun rights decisions, the court flexed its muscles on a host of cases, making independent, assertive decisions, the Washington Post observes. “I see this as the least deferential court since the New Deal,” says one Clinton administration lawyer. “It is a court that very much likes to decide things for itself.”
While the public will likely remember the court's resounding 5-4 split on Citizens United, the court actually reached a consensus of 8-1 or better in 56% of its cases, compared to 40% last year. Coalitions shifted freely, with John Roberts even siding with the liberals occasionally. But while many of the court's decisions were bold, many were also narrow or symbolic, one law professor adds. “I think the effect on American lives will be quite modest,” he said.