It’s Not Your Imagination — The Supreme Court is Less Efficient

The Supreme Court is now less efficient according to multiple measures. Since the Court released its first decision in an orally argued case this morning, Monday January 23rd 2023, the 112 days between the first oral argument and the first opinion of this term set a new record for the longest time this has ever…

A Tale of Two Presidents

On April 19, 2021 President Biden released his first slate of judicial nominees.  Along with five district court nominees and two other appeals court nominees, Biden nominated (now) Justice Ketanji Jackson to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jackson was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit on June 14, 2021 and less than a year later…

Why 2022 is Already a Term Like No Other

This is a historic year for the Supreme Court. After a second term with a conservative supermajority, the Court is once again positioned to make key decisions along ideological lines.  While the Roberts Court will be remembered for its ideological splits and key decisions in the areas of individual rights and liberties, it will also…

Supremely Slow Out of the Gates

The Supreme Court has hit several lows in the last few years. It recently had the lowest number of decisions in over a century and it has significantly slowed down its pace of decision releases.  It had set some new records as well including the highest rate of 6 to 3 decisions ever and the…

The SCOTUS Tortoise and the Hare

With nine justices on the Supreme Court, consensus among five justices is necessary for any successful voting coalition.  Knowing this, there appears to be little incentive to vote alone.  Solo votes don’t have the power to generate precedent and do not even foreshadow any likelihood of gaining more adherents to such a view among a…

No Doppelgänger for Jackson

Justice Jackson is the first justice in recent times to enter a Court with a clear six justice bloc in the majority. Unfortunately (for her) she is in the minority of this grouping.  In the first week of oral arguments this term Jackson more or less solidified her position on the left of the Court…

Do Early Term Arguments Lead to Less Contentious Decisions?

The Supreme Court is known to leave its most poignant decisions for the end of the term. The end of last term included among other decisions the release of Dobbs (abortion), Bruen (gun control), and WV v. EPA (EPA’s Clean Air Act policy). One of these decisions, Bruen, was argued in the first two months…

A Definitive Look at the New OAs Led by KBJ

Something is clearly different this Supreme Court term after only two weeks of oral arguments. There is a chippiness in the air that wasn’t overtly present before. The distinction between the left and the right of the Court is still in play, but newly appointed Justice Jackson has had control of the proceedings far more…

Great Coverage of October Arguments

Empirical SCOTUS has been highlighted in a number of articles this past month mainly for its coverage of the justices’ activity (mainly KBJ) at oral arguments. Here is a rundown of the articles: You can find Adam on Twitter @AdamSFeldman and on LinkedIn here

Female Justices Take the Reins to Start Off SCOTUS’ 2022 Oral Arguments

The first argument of 2022 in Sackett v. EPA also marked Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s first argument as a newly appointed justice.  After several of her peers on the Court completed introductory questions, Justice Jackson chimed in by piggybacking on top of the previous question asked by Justice Kagan.  Justice Jackson began by asking about…

The most powerful supermajority

Introduction As Cass Sunstein points out, the U.S. Supreme Court was mainly a single minded body for its first century and a half with very little dissent.  There were occasional dissents and concurrences, probably most notably Justice Harlan’s dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson.  Still, the uniformity in decision making made discerning the justices’ distinct views…