The latest session of the U.S. Supreme Court -- just ended -- was especially contentious, with important decisions on the separation of church and state, organized labor, campaign finance reform and birth control, among others, splitting the court along its 5-4 conservative/liberal divide. What's more, critics increasingly question whether the court is as corrupted by the influence of big money as the U.S. Congress that sits just across Capitol Hill.
On the other hand, nearly two-thirds of the court's decisions this term were unanimous -- the first time that's happened in more than sixty years. But there's more to that seeming unanimity than meets the eye: in some instances, conservative justices went along but expressed their wish that the court had gone even further to the right, and many believe that some of the decisions might simply be a preliminary step toward a more significant breaking of legal precedent in years to come.
All of these nuances are best assessed by two experienced and knowledgeable reporters for whom the Supreme Court has been both their beat and the target of their interpretive skills. They talk with Bill Moyers on this week's edition of Moyers & Company (check local listings). Linda Greenhouse covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times for thirty years and still writes a bi-weekly column on the law for that newspaper. She is a lecturer, senior research scholar and the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence at the Yale Law School. Dahlia Lithwick is a National Magazine Award winner and a senior editor at Slate.com, where she writes the website's "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence" columns. Currently, she is working on a book about the four women who have served as Supreme Court justices.
Bill Moyers (now retired) hosted a weekly hour of compelling conversation about the state of American democracy, featuring a range of scholars, activists, scientists, and newsmakers.