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U.S. Supreme Court: "There's far more agreement than is commonly understood"

Jeff Kubina / flickr
U.S. Supreme Court building

Has the U.S. Supreme Court become a partisan institution? According to polls, many Americans think so.

On this episode of River to River, a discussion on the politics and perception of the Supreme Court with Anthony Gaughan, of Drake University, who argues that decline in the public’s faith in the court is not a fair assessment.

"The perception that the court divides 5-4 on a frequent basis is simply wrong," he says. "In the most recent Supreme Court term, the justices were unanimous in two thirds of the cases that they heard."

"In almost 80 percent of the cases, the majority had at least seven justices in agreement, so there’s actually far more agreement on the Supreme Court than is commonly understood.”

As the justices begin their new session this month, Todd Pettys, of the University of Iowa College of Law, also joins the conversation to highlight some of the most significant cases currently before the court, including a case that brings up the question: How much religious freedom do you have in prison? He also describes the implications of a case that deals with a husband threatening his wife via social media, who claims he has a first amendment right to do so.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River