In his recent book In the Balance: Law and Politics on the Roberts Court, Mark Tushnet does not disagree that politics and the Supreme Court go hand in hand. There is no denying that the Justices have political views and that those political views often influence how they decide cases. Professor Tushnet carefully dissects and criticizes the now infamous “umpire” analogy that Chief Justice John Roberts used in his confirmation hearing, replacing it with what he takes as the much more realistic and intellectually honest portraits of judging offered by Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

But where In the Balance makes its greatest contribution is in tempering the urge to dismiss the Court’s behavior as purely political.