Actually Rust Belt Blues, I can see where you would hold that view that the S Ct votes a "party line" but it’s a bit of an oversimplistic view of the dynamics of the Court. Although they get it wrong sometimes, I don’t think their decisions are "Total crap" and in fact they do a good job of staying OUT of a lot of the stupid politicking making them as a whole one of the more thoughtful and intelligent institutions around Washington in my humble opinion. it pains me that more people don’t take the time to understand what the Court really does or get to know its job a little better and instead have ideas about it mostly based in the media presentation of it, which 95% of the time IS total crap. and O’Connor does not always vote conservative, she’s the swing vote and likes balancing tests. I’ll shaddap now, anyone who is really interested in the S Ct should turn off the TV and either go to a good law school or read a good book or two on the dynamics of the place. "The Brethren" and "Closed Chambers" are okay places to start, but they’re biased—in particular "Brethren" emphasizes the political aspects of the Court probably more than it should. my personal view is that the Court is influenced by 1) stare decisis 2) economics of enforcement and 3) politics as a third thing, fitting in with 1 and 2.