If you look at close cases — 5 to 4 or 5 to 3 — going back to the 1950s to illustrate this division, you will see that the percentage of votes cast in the liberal direction by justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents has skyrocketed. And the same trajectory applies on the other side: The percentage of votes cast in the conservative direction by justices who were appointed by Republican presidents has also shot up.
The trend is extreme — and alarming …
Assaults on judicial independence are made easier when the public comes to view the judiciary as a political body. This risk, and not just the identity of the next justice, should be at the center of public attention.
Lee Epstein and Eric Posner