In 2007, Chief Justice John Roberts told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Rosen that he hoped to foster "a culture and an ethos that says ‘It’s good when we’re all together.'" Judging by the current term, he has come a long way toward his goal. Of the Court’s 70 cases this term, a whopping 47 have been unanimous. Even if (as seems likely) the final two cases are split, that’s still two-thirds; none of Roberts's previous terms has scored more than 50 percent. In addition, at most 10 cases this term will have been decided by a 5-4 vote, the fewest since 2007.
But the unanimity above refers to results. Equally important in a Supreme Court case is the reasoning on an opinion. A Court's explanation of its decision will create a new precedent and narrow, expand, or overrule old ones. And in reasoning, the Roberts Court is sharply divided.
On one side is the four-justice moderate-liberal bloc: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. On the other is a hard-right gang of three—Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito. Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy are both very conservative, but unlike the other three, they don't always insist on total triumph, and sometimes make common cause with the moderate liberals.