Sample Political Science Paper on Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), as the highest federal court, is responsible for making decisions that affect all and not a section of Americans. It is considered the most powerful branch of the U.S. government with the final say on myriads of issues. However, over the years, there have been complaints and concerns regarding its impartiality given the fact that it is composed of justices appointed by different presidents and confirmed by different Senates. For example, the current sitting justices were appointed by different presidents; Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, O’Connor, Souter, and Stevens were appointed by Republican presidents whereas Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan were appointed by Democrat presidents.

The diversity of political views on the Court as well as the periodic appointment of justices implies that no single political divide can prevail for long. Even though there are complaints that politics of the Supreme Court seems to influence the decisions made by justices, this is not true. According to the U.S. Constitution, justices of the Supreme Court are supposed to be neutral and non-partisan, and although there are complaints of impartiality based on political stands, evidence of the same are minimal. Their political differences notwithstanding, the current justices share a commitment to uphold the Constitution of the United States, which is a country governed by the rule of law and not by the rule of men. In recent rulings, it is evident that the justices of the Court view themselves as faithful agents of the law.

Based on recent rulings, justices appointed by Republican presidents together with those appointed by Democratic presidents seem to vote on cases without considering their political stands. In a recent case, Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., argued on October 31, 2016, and decided on March 22, 2017; there is no evidence of partiality based on political stands. In this case, the opinion of the Court was delivered by Thomas, J, who was joined by Roberts, C.J., Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan. An opinion concurring in the judgment was filed by Ginsburg whereas Breyer and Kennedy dissented the decision (“Supreme Court of the United States Home” n.p). It is evident that Sotomayor and Kagan, appointees of Democratic presidents, joined Roberts, Alito, and Thomas, who are appointees of Republican presidents. Moreover, justices dissenting the decision were Breyer (Democratic President appointee) and Kennedy (a Republican President appointee). This is a perfect example of a case that discredits the argument that politics of Supreme Court justices seem to influence their decisions.

In another recent case, Manuel v. Joliet, argued on October 5, 2016, and decided on March 21, 2017, there is little evidence that the decision made by the justices was influenced by their political stands. In the case, Kagan delivered the Court’s opinion and was joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Kagan, a Democratic president appointee, was joined by appointees of Republican presidents discrediting the argument that politics influences the decisions made by justices of the Supreme Court. On the other hand, even though several justices appointed by Republican presidents joined in the Court’s opinion, there are other appointees of Republican presidents (Thomas and Alito) who filed dissenting opinions (“Supreme Court of the United States Home” n.p). This, as well, rules out the argument that politics has an influence on the decisions made by Supreme Court justices in the United States.

Work Cited

“Supreme Court of the United States Home.” Home – Supreme Court of the United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.