'So much winning'? Donald Trump remade the Supreme Court. It hasn't always made him a winner

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WASHINGTON − President Donald Trump was halfway into his fiery Jan. 6, 2021, rally remarks that ended with his urging supporters to go to the Capitol when he brought up a different branch of government.

“I’m not happy with the Supreme Court,” he said. “They love to rule against me.”

Does the former president − who reshaped the Supreme Court to give it a potent conservative supermajority − have a point? Could Trump, who promised when he first ran for president that he'd shepherd in an era of 'so much winning', wind up the loser in his blockbuster and historic case that's being argued before the Supreme Court this week?

On Thursday, Trump's lawyers will appear before the justices when they consider whether he incited an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021 and can be disqualified from returning to the White House. Seated on the bench will be the three justices he appointed, as well as three others appointed by past Republican presidents.

While Trump has scored some big victories from this 6-3 conservative Court, most notably eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion, his record is surprisingly spotty.

Trump: the worst Supreme Court record since the Roosevelt administration

After Trump lost re-election in 2020, the court threw out a Texas lawsuit aiming to overturn the results in four battleground states.

The court has also allowed New York City prosecutors and Congress to get his tax records and didn’t stop the congressional committee investigating Jan. 6 from accessing presidential documents. The justices also declined Trump’s request to get involved in the dispute over classified documents seized at his Mar-a-Lago club in 2022.

And Trump's administration had the worst record at the Supreme Court of any administration since at least the Roosevelt administration, according to data developed by law professors Rebecca Brown and Lee Epstein for an article published in Presidential Studies Quarterly.

"Whatever the politics of members of this Supreme Court, the Court has a track record in cases involving Donald Trump of standing strong for oversight and accountability and for checks on his abuses of power,” said Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the watchdog group representing the Colorado voters challenging Trump’s ballot eligibility. “Given that, we expect the court to give this case a fair hearing and to decide it based on the facts and the law."

Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, said Trump’s past losses at the court are noteworthy because he might have been expected to have had more wins from a conservative court.

But they're not likely to indicate how the court will decide the Colorado case, which has much greater significance for the nation, he said.

Instead, Vladeck sees the moment as similar to the court’s past decisions on desegregation and whether President Richard Nixon had to turn over the Watergate tapes when the justices tried to play neutral arbiter and lower the temperature.

“But I don't know what that looks like,” he said. “It’s not obvious to me where there'd be some kind of `everyone-gets-something-ruling’ that might draw justices from both ends of the bench. And I feel like that's what we need right now. What we need is the court to speak in a way that is not going to further exacerbate the political tensions at the moment.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 27: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Big League Dreams Las Vegas on January 27, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump is campaigning in Nevada ahead of the state’s Republican presidential caucuses on February 8. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 776093310 ORIG FILE ID: 1966072004

Is a second Trump presidency another chance for him to shape the Supreme Court?

The Colorado dispute is not the only time the Supreme Court could decide Trump’s future. It’s considering a challenge to how federal prosecutors are going after Jan. 6 rioters in a case that could also affect the federal charges against Trump for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election. In addition, Trump is expected to ask the Supreme Court to rule that, as a former president, he’s immune from prosecution.

If Trump survives all legal challenges and convinces voters to return him to the White House, he might be able to further solidify the conservative supermajority he helped create on the court.

That would only deepen the ties between the Supreme Court and Trump’s political fortunes that began in 2016.

He won over the GOP’s Christian right in part by vowing to select Supreme Court justices who would oppose abortion rights, a move he said could “automatically” lead to the court overturning Roe v. Wade.

That happened in 2022 with the support of the three justices he appointed: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. The court’s conservative supermajority also set new standards for evaluating gun laws and struck down affirmative action in college admissions.

Feb 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh greets President Donald Trump before he delivers the State of the Union address from the House chamber of the United States Capitol in Washington. Mandatory Credit: Jasper Colt-USA TODAY NETWORK (Via OlyDrop)
Feb 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh greets President Donald Trump before he delivers the State of the Union address from the House chamber of the United States Capitol in Washington. Mandatory Credit: Jasper Colt-USA TODAY NETWORK (Via OlyDrop)

For Trump, eliminating the right to an abortion was 'a miracle'

Trump’s transformation of the court was one of his biggest accomplishments, especially because all of three of his nominees are under age 60.

If Trump becomes president again, he could have a chance to replace the two oldest conservativesJustices Clarence Thomas, 75, and Samuel Alito,73 – with younger justices who could keep the supermajority going far into the future.

“The next election is so important for the Supreme Court and people have not focused on that yet, because very likely, if Trump wins, Alito and Thomas retire and are replaced with much younger and even crazier right-wing judges,” Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, recently said on the podcast he co-hosts.

President Joe Biden is hoping the court overturning the five-decade-old constitutional right to an abortion will help him stop Trump from doing that.

“He describes the Dobbs decision as a `miracle,''' Biden said in Virginia last month at his first major 2024 campaign rally. ''But for American women, it’s a nightmare.” Trump, Biden said, “doesn’t have a clue about the power of women in America.”

`They go out of their way to show they are totally impartial'

Trump’s complaints about the Supreme Court during his “Save America” rally on Jan. 6, 2021, came weeks after the court said Texas couldn’t challenge the 2020 election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

He suggested the justices “rule against me so much” to appear impartial because “the story is that they’re my puppets.”

“And now the only way they can get out of that because they hate that it’s not good in the social circuit. And the only way they get out is to rule against Trump," he said. "So let’s rule against Trump. And they do that."

Trump made similar comments on his Truth Social platform last month, complaining that “Republican Judges are very often afraid to do the right thing.”

“They go out of their way to show they are totally impartial,” he wrote, “to the point of making really bad and unfair decisions.”

More: 'Open mic night' at the Supreme Court? Don't expect Donald Trump to let loose at the marble palace

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump's track record at the Supreme Court before Colorado ballot case