Recent 5-4 decisions of the Supreme Court have resurrected the common analysis in the terms of liberal v conservative division in the court. I've just been reading Curran vs. Catholic University: A Study of Authority and Freedom of Conflict by Larry Witham and it struck me that what we have on the court is less a conservative block than a religious one. All of the five justices voting with the so-called conservative majority are Catholic: Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Roberts. I suppose one could argue that I'm being anti-Catholic in suggested that their Catholic background may influence their decisions more than any conservative tendencies, but since I'm basically anti all religions, I don't think that criticism is warranted.
The Catholic Church is an authoritarian and autocratic institution. By its very nature it tries to suppress contrarian, read heretical, views. The Curran case is a classic example, and Curran lost his bid to teach what he believed to be correct at a Catholic institution. Suppression of freedom of belief and obedience to authority are fundamentals of the Catholic Church as numerous encyclicals and anti-modernist pronouncements have confirmed. The 2nd Vatican Council was a brief anomaly that subsequent popes have begun to reverse.
I would suggest that the Courts 5 man Catholic majority is influenced more by this Catholic subservience to authority and adherence to orthodox than any so-called conservative principles.