The Legacy of President Obama in the U.S. Supreme Court

  • Isaac UnahEmail author
  • Ryan Williams


Isaac Unah and Ryan Williams evaluate the Obama administration and its relations with the US Supreme Court. With the advice and consent of the US Senate, President Obama appointed two justices for the Supreme Court and several lower federal court judges. This chapter examined Obama’s legacy in the Supreme Court and the critical cases (e.g., campaign finance, health care, voting rights, same-sex marriage) that faced the Roberts Court. They argue that Obama’s presidency was transformative for the institution and politics of the Court. President Obama experienced both successes and failures in attempting to shape the Court in his own image, but he largely succeeded in using the Supreme Court to secure some of his biggest victories as president. At the end of the tenure, Obama was only partially successful in slowing down the aggressive rightward shift of the Court. Obama’s two relatively liberal/progressive-minded appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are a counterweight to the current Court’s conservative majority. With the help of Sotomayor and Kagan, the liberal minority has slowed the Court from moving dramatically to the Right. The chapter makes that conclusion after examining the voting behavior of the Obama appointed justices compared to the justices they replaced on the Bench.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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