CLS: Lawrence Baum
Since 2010, for the first time in its history, the Supreme Court is divided along ideological lines that coincide with party lines: all the justices appointed by Republican presidents are conservative, all the Democratic appointees are liberal. This development has had powerful effects on the Court and on perceptions of the Court in government and society. The most fundamental source of this development is change in the process of selecting justices. In the current era, presidents almost always choose nominees who have records of reliable support for the ideological agenda of their party. For their part, senators who vote on confirmation of nominees respond to them overwhelmingly on a partisan basis. These changes reflect both specific political trends and the polarization that has become the most important attribute of American politics.