I have updated “U.S. Supreme Court: Lines of Succession and Ideological Alignment” to cover the recently completed October 2016 term. Observations:
The fairly harmonious 2014 term was succeeded by more typical (i.e., more divided) 2015 and 2016 terms. In fact, 2016 was even more polarized than 2015.
Kennedy’s long-standing proneness to defect more often than his “conservative” colleagues grew markedly in the 2014-2015 terms and receded a bit in the 2016 term. Kennedy probably should be counted as a member of the Court’s “liberal” wing, but I won’t make that call until the end of the 2017 term. Perhaps Kennedy will have done the right thing and retired by then.
Roberts is more in step with the “conservative” wing than he had been in the previous three terms, but he isn’t back to where he was in 2005-2011.