The polemics flow like water over Niagara Falls. Every minute of every day there's a new rant by some politician, media personality, academic, or entertainer asserting that Donald Trump is:
A Dictator! A Fascist! A Tyrant! A Threat to the Republic! Subverting our Constitution! Hitler! An Existential Threat!
The question is, is any of this true? Can we prove or disprove these allegations?
Luckily, there's a whole branch of government dedicated to identifying this exact behavior. At the top of that branch is the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS). No matter what happens in the lower courts, the supremes always get the final say. If there's ever a dictator living in the White House, he or she would have an historically bad losing record.
Astonishingly, Donald Trump does not!
Here’re the numbers from Trump’s last year at the SCOTUS:
From: “Trump’s Top SCOTUS Lawyers Post winning Term, But Barely” - Bloomberg Law
Donald Trump had a TOTAL win rate of 68% based on his only full Supreme Court session for which he had a confirmed Solicitor General.*
So how did Barack Obama do?
Overall, the (Obama) administration has managed a record of 79-96, a win rate of just above 45 percent.Wait. He had a losing record?
How about the other Presidents?
That (Obama) audit doesn't look too good when compared to the record of his predecessors. George W. Bush achieved a record of 89-59 (60 percent)—and that's if you fold in all of 2000-2001, including cases argued when Bill Clinton was president in what was an unusually bad term for the government (roughly 35 percent). Clinton, in turn, had an overall record of 148-87 (63 percent), again including all of 1992-1993. George H.W. Bush went 91-39 (70 percent), while Ronald Reagan weighed in with an astounding record of 260-89 (about 75 percent).From: “Obama Has Lost in the Supreme Court More Than Any Modern President” - Cato Institute
While it looks like this is merely a tale of a downwards trend in recent years, Jimmy Carter still managed a 139-65 record (68 percent). Indeed, the overall government win rate over the last 50 years—I've calculated back to the early 1960s—is comfortably over 60 percent.
And remember, Obamacare (ACA) is likely going back to the Supreme Court in 2020.
*Note: The Bloomberg graphic includes Trump’s amicus cases. The Cato analysis only includes cases in which the administration was a party. Using only party totals, Trump is still at 55% vs. Obama at 45%.
In summary: Donald Trump is doing about average and has a winning record. Conversely, his immediate predecessor is the most overturned President in modern history and the only one with a losing record!
Remind me again who the dictator is?