Friends, Foes, and Votes

Since the beginning of the 2010 Supreme Court Term, 82 cases have been decided by one vote (80 by 5-4 votes and 2 by 4-3 votes. Both of the 4-3 votes were during the 2015 Term (see this post for more information on those cases)).  These include orally argued cases and non-orally argued decisions where…

The OSG and More Potential Cases for 2016

With the Supreme Court’s 2016 Term around the corner, there is nowhere near a full slate of cases for the Justices to hear.  While the October and November hearing schedules were released and there are a handful of other granted cases without oral argument dates on the calendar, there are currently only approximately 29 cases (see SCOTUSBlog’s list…

SCOTUS Preferences in Civil Rights Cases

Even with the Supreme Court in summer recess the Justices have ruled on a slew of challenges to states’ laws affecting voting rights (for example) and regulations (for example).  These decisions often have ideological dimensions as is apparent from the alignment of dissenting coalitions. With eight rather than the typical nine Justices currently sitting on the…

Changing Work Patterns in the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court decides well fewer than 100 orally argued cases each Term. This is only a fraction of the number of cases the Supreme Court heard in the past. There is concern that Court will hear even fewer cases during the 2016 Term due to the ongoing Supreme Court vacancy. The dynamics of these cases…

And Now For Something Completely Sociodemographic

Several of the Justices were on speaking tours in recent weeks moving through academic venues and discussing the contours of the current Court in somewhat guarded tones (which is not surprising given the general tenor or Supreme Court Justices outside of the Court and based on the backlash against Justice Ginsburg’s incisive comments concerning Presidential…

Quick Note: SCOTUS Justices/Nominees’ Ages at Death

Perusing through some data for another post, I came across the age at death of all deceased Supreme Court nominees (those confirmed and not excluding Justice Scalia). The graph on the left shows all of the ages at death over time and the graph on the right shows the life expectancy trend based on the death…

Garland’s Reach into the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court writes full decisions in around 70 orally argued cases every term.  The majority of these cases were previously heard by federal courts of appeals.  Each of the twelve federal appeals circuits, however, decides hundreds of cases every year, with only a tiny percentage going to the Supreme Court for further review.  Appeals…

A New Frontier in SCOTUS Stay Decisions Without Justice Scalia?

While most of the Supreme Court’s notable matters include cases with far reaching implications that are decided with written decisions, some of the most important decisions the Court makes have to do with emergency matters that are time-sensitive. The Court examines a number of stay applications each year, which are typically dominated by capital cases….

A Tale of Two Constitutional Holdings

The Supreme Court held two state statutes unconstitutional during the the 2015 term*: portions of Florida’s death penalty law in Hurst v. Florida and Texas’ abortion statute in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. While lower court rulings relate to the specific statute(s) dealt with in a case, these decisions have nationwide implications. The Court’s decisions have constitutional…

Supreme Court Opinion Readability 2015

How easy are Supreme Court opinions to read? There is quite a bit of variation in the Court’s writings based on the case facts, Justice, clerks, majority coalition, and prior case law involved. Complicating this question further is the difficulty in measuring reading ease. As with measuring writing quality, there are subjective elements that even…

The Summer Pipeline

Supreme Court Justices make few official decisions during the summer. Generally, these relate to emergency matter that require quick injunctive responses. For lawyers, however, the situation is quite different (as the saying goes “time and tide wait for no man”).  While the Court does not rule on cases during the summer, cert petitions accumulate just…

Five SCOTUS Decisions Making Waves in the Lower Courts

The 2015/2016 Supreme Court Term had its fair share of significant cases. Some of these cases have effected and will effect large swaths of the population. The ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, for instance, sets guidelines for acceptable state regulations on abortion. Evenwel v. Abbott clarifies how states may draw legislative districts, thus…