Decisions, Decisions

The other day Mark Sherman of AP reported an interesting statistic via Twitter (Kimberly Robinson mentioned this stat in Bloomberg Big Law Business post as well): this term would be the Court’s slowest in recent years for releasing the first two orally argued decisions.  I decided to examine the details behind this statistic, which I provide…

The Next Nominee to the Supreme Court

For all of the criticism the Trump Administration has received in recent weeks and months, one thing that Republicans almost universally agree upon is that President Trump has done well in reshaping the federal judiciary.  This distinction even led to the genesis of stress balls with the caption “But Gorsuch!” distributed at the most recent Federalist…

Major Players in the Lower Courts

Cases’ contours are primarily defined by the time they reach the Supreme Court.  These contours take shape through litigation in lower courts.  In the lower courts, judges make decisions that are by and large upheld as they are generally are left untouched.  Even if appeals courts wanted to take a larger role in the universe…

Who’s on the Case: Successful Cert Petitions 2017

The Supreme Court has its calendar set through January 2018 with ten cases already accepted for argument that are as of yet unscheduled.  The total number of case grants so far is 53, and with consolidated cases this will lead to 47 arguments.  This puts the Court on pace for one of the slowest grant rates…

Is a Recipe for Justice Kennedy a Recipe for Success?

The puns are endless with a case that goes by the name Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  The stakes though are no laughing manner. If the Court decides all of the issues brought up in the case, boundaries of the First Amendment doctrine may be rewritten as could the defining lines between religious…

Name Dropping in Oral Argument

Supreme Court oral argument is the setting where attorneys get to present their cases to the justices. It is a chance for justices to ask questions and for attorneys to convey important information; especially information that might not be contained in the briefs.  Oral argument also functions as a setting for dialogue.  In this respect,…

A Dearth of Female Attorneys at Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Female attorneys have a long history arguing before the Supreme Court dating back to Belva Lockwood’s argument in 1880. While Lockwood’s argument helped proverbially break the glass ceiling for women to practice before the Supreme Court, such opportunities have proven difficult to come by as female attorneys only make up a small fraction of the…

A Record Set by the OSG During the Obama Years

The Solicitor General’s Office (OSG) has a special relationship with the Supreme Court.  In the role of adviser the Solicitor General is often referred to as the 10th Justice.  The OSG enjoys much higher than average success in bringing cases to the Court and is even asked to give its opinions on whether the Court should…

Attorneys in the Clutch

Earlier this year I ran a blog post on the most powerful justices across time, which focused on their decisions in cases with single vote margin majorities.  That post accounted for the decision makers, but it did not consider the attorneys whose arguments factor into the justices’ decision calculi.  This post takes a look at…

The Strategic Right – Oral Arguments at the Beginning of the 2017 Term

Several possible facets of the justices’ new oral argument strategies became apparent during the first week of oral arguments for the 2017 Supreme Court term.  The Court began with a series of high-profile cases – perhaps none as discussed and hotly contested as Gill v. Whitford which looks at gerrymandered voting districts in Wisconsin.  The…

Fast Out of the Gates (SCOTUS’ October 2017 Oral Arguments)

On October 2nd, the Supreme Court will be back in session with the first oral arguments of 2017.  Since Justice Scalia passed away in February 2016 the justices have taken a light caseload and generally have not heard cases that would lead to great rifts among themselves.  This non-divisive set of cases during the 2016…

Petitions to Watch For From SCOTUS’ Long Conference

Each October before the Supreme Court begins its term, the justices meet for the “long conference” to review the Court’s agenda.  The justice held this conference for the upcoming term two days ago on September 25th.  During this conference the justices meet to discuss petitions to the Court for the upcoming term.  This is the…