As the United States Supreme Court concluded its 2022 term, the knives were already out. The cacophony of far left pundits and organizations has been ringing since last October. And if you were to listen to them, you would be misled into believing that the Supreme Court has become a deeply divided, partisan institution. But the numbers tell an entirely different story.

The 2022 term comprised 58 total decisions—59 if you consider the fact that the Harvard and University of North Carolina affirmative action cases were consolidated—which is the lowest total in years. This continues a recent trend of the Court taking fewer cases than in years past. It is unclear what, if anything, should be interpreted from that phenomenon. But things get more interesting once we delve deeper into how the Court decided those cases.

The far left insists the Court is sharply divided along political lines. If that is true, we should expect to see those fissures represented in the Court’s decisions. Yet we find the opposite. This term, 48% of the Court’s decisions were unanimous. That is a significant increase from the 29% of decisions that were unanimous during the 2021 term.

One possible counter to that statistic is that unanimous decisions often indicate a less controversial legal issue. So maybe the Court is truly partisan when it comes to more controversial cases. While that is a reasonable assumption, it is unsupported by the data.

The Court, according to the far left, is now a 6-3, conservative-controlled, partisan body. Thus, instead of looking at unanimous decisions, we should analyze the Court’s 6-3 decisions, of which there were twelve during the 2022 term. (Technically, there were eleven 6-3 decisions, but it is safe to assume Justice Jackson would have joined the dissent in the twelfth decision, the Harvard affirmative action case from which she recused herself, since she joined the dissent in the UNC case.) Of those twelve 6-3 decisions, only half were decided along party lines. That means one of the Justices crossed the aisle half the time. Again, hardly partisan.

Having established that the Justices frequently vote in blocs that defy the far left’s specious characterizations, things get really interesting when we analyze those voting blocs.

The Justice who was most frequently in the majority was Justice Kavanaugh. As he is considered the Court’s swing vote, that comes as little surprise. But when we analyze which of his colleagues Justice Kavanaugh is most and least likely to vote with, we find some surprises.

Justice Kavanaugh voted with Chief Justice Roberts 95% of the time, comprising the strongest pairing in the 2022 term. This has been a consistent trend ever since Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment and should shock no one. But Justice Kavanaugh has also demonstrated a willingness to break company with his conservative colleagues. He is just as likely to vote with Justices Kagan and Jackson (80% of the time) as he is with Justice Alito. And the far left’s favorite target of baseless attacks, Justice Thomas, was the colleague Justice Kavanaugh voted with least often.

For his part, Chief Justice Roberts voted with his colleague to the left, Justice Kagan (82%), more frequently than with his colleagues to the right, Justices Alito (78%), Gorsuch (76%), and Thomas (75%).

What should we make of all this? For starters, although statistics are certainly a useful measure, they do not tell the whole story. But they do tell a story. By the numbers, the Supreme Court is decidedly non-partisan and could even be described as unified on a great number of issues. And even when the Court is divided, the American people approve of its decisions. That is as important as any statistical measure.

The truth is that the far left’s unfounded attacks on the Court are merely part of a broader campaign that includes questioning the ethics and objectivity of the Justices and calls for radical changes such as Court packing. This power play dangerously questions the very legitimacy of the Court, putting the civil rights of all Americans in peril. But just as an overwhelming majority of Americans reject politicizing the Court, the numbers reject the narrative of a partisan Court.

Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor once famously observed that under the American system, our courts hold neither the power of the purse nor the sword. A court’s power lies in its legitimacy and credibility with the American people. According to the data, it is clear that the Supreme Court remains a strong, legitimate, and credible institution with incredible staying power. May it ever be so.

Note from the Editor: The Federalist Society takes no positions on particular legal and public policy matters. Any expressions of opinion are those of the author. We welcome responses to the views presented here. To join the debate, please email us at [email protected].