The nation often believes that the Supreme Court is divided in its voting strictly based on the political parties of the presidents who appointed the justices. The Court’s decision earlier this year in Citizens United v. FEC provided a blunt exemplar of the divided ideologies.

Of course, divisions based on ideological orientation have animated judicial rulings since forever. It was perhaps at its worst, though, and the views expressed most strident, as 2000 drew to a close. The Supreme Court had just awarded the presidential election to George W. on party lines, in an episode truly sui generis. The most important decision in American constitutional history was seen as having been decided not by the justices who signed the majority opinion but by the party politics of their appointers. If the majority of voters had their way on Dec. 12, 2000, when Bush II was decided, they might well have tried a rapid-fire “recall” of the majority justices.

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