Somin on Administration's SCOTUS Scorecard

Commenting in a Washington Times article, Professor Ilya Somin points out that it is striking the number of times the Obama Administration has been on the losing end of unanimous decisions in cases heard by the Supreme Court.

"When the administration loses significant cases in unanimous decisions and cannot even hold the votes of its own appointees—Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—it is an indication that they adopted such an extreme position on the scope of federal power that even generally sympathetic judges could not even support it," says Somin. 

Somin added that presidents from both parties tend to make sweeping claims of federal power. "This is actually something that George W. Bush and Obama have in common," he says. 

In the Supreme Court term just ending, the administration won just over a third of the cases in which it was involved. Typically the government averages about a 70 percent win rate in cases before the high court. 

Obama administration lost two-thirds of cases during Supreme Court term, Washington Times, June 26, 2013. By Seth McLaughlin.

"The Obama administration was on the losing end of several 9-0 decisions, including last year when the court held that churches have the right to make employment decisions free from government interference over discrimination laws, and said an Idaho couple could challenge the Environmental Protection Agency over government claims that they could not build a home on private property that was deemed a protected wetland.

"The nine justices also agreed this month to clear the way for California raisin growers to challenge the constitutionality of a Depression-era farming law that makes them keep part of their annual crop off the market.

"The losses continued to pile up for Mr. Obama this week after the court went against the wishes of the White House in cases that involved affirmative action in Texas, private property rights in Florida and a challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

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