The trend of the Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of devolution endedA. When the membership of the Court became more liberalB. When the membership of the Supreme Court became more conservativeC. When George W. Bush became presidentD. When Barack Obama became presidentE. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001

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The best answer to this question is Option E.  After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Supreme Court of the United States became less aggressive about taking power away from the federal government.  It presumably changed its views because it felt that the government needed more power to fight terrorism.  Let us look at why the other options are not good.

Options C and D are not very likely to be right because presidents do not have the ability to affect Supreme Court decisions.  It is true that the president gets to nominate justices to fill any openings on the Court.  However, this does not happen right away when the president is elected.  It can only happen once an opening occurs.  Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that the Supreme Court would change its decisions simply because of a presidential election.

Option B is unlikely because the Supreme Court would not be likely to reverse itself on devolution because it had become more conservative.  In today’s politics, conservatives are more likely to be in favor of devolution than liberals.  Liberals tend to trust the federal government more while conservatives trust the states more.

Finally, Option C is unlikely because the Supreme Court has not become more liberal.  The ideological balance of the Supreme Court has remained fairly stable for a number of years now.  There has not been a nomination where a clear liberal was replaced by a conservative (or vice versa) since 1991.

For all of these reasons, Option  E is the best answer to this question.

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