Linda Greenhouse's "Polarizing" Supreme Court Reporting

Liberal Supreme Courtreporter Linda Greenhouse previewed the new Supreme Court term that began this weekand found the "conservative" court's docket "polarizing" in Monday's "Justices, Already Split, Commence Work on a Polarizing New Docket."

Greenhouse began by stamping the warning label "conservative" on everything in sight:

"The Supreme Court has so many polarizing cases on the docket for its new term that the deep ideological divisions that characterized the last term are all but certain to remain on display after justices reconvene on Monday.

"The conservative majority under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. drove the court to the right in a series of high-profile rulings during the term that ended in June. That performance, as well as a series of books and articles by and about justices, has placed the court in an unusually bright spotlight as the new term opens.

"The conservative bloc will not necessarily prevail in every important case. For example, the Bush administration is clearly on the defensive as the court prepares to hear a third-round challenge to policies governing those held as enemy combatants at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

"But the conservative justices clearly have the upper hand in the all-important task of shaping the court's docket, a process that in effect shapes the country's immediate legal agenda. They demonstrated their power last week in accepting 19 new cases, an unusually large number, including an employer's appeal in a racial discrimination case that could provide a vehicle for limiting remedies available under one of the country's oldest civil rights laws."