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…

Why Garland Makes Sense for Clinton and Obama

  Merrick Garland has a stellar judicial record.  None of the 330 decisions he authored have even been heard by the Supreme Court on writ of certiorari.  Few of his fellow jurists on the D.C. Circuit have dissented in cases where he wrote the majority opinion.  He has fed more clerks to the Supreme Court…

A Formula For Supreme Court Clerkships? Harvard and Garland

Is there a formula to becoming a Supreme Court clerk?  Perhaps a certain pedigree? How about a prior federal clerkship?  The short answer to all three questions is yes.  At very least, going to a certain school and working for a specific judge significantly enhance your chances. Much of the discussion surrounding Supreme Court clerkships has centered…

Professors as Amici

Amicus briefs filed before the Supreme Court are most commonly used as a tool for interest groups use to convey their positions (for a look at interest groups’ use of amicus briefs see this article by Professor Paul Collins). This is not the sole use of such briefs though. Non-party individuals and groups that have an…

Quick Note: Supreme Court Stay Applications 2015/2016

The Supreme Court regularly receives applications to stay court orders or mandates pending possible upcoming decisions such as those on certiorari.  Many of these requests are received from inmates on death row looking to stay executions.  Several instances involve multiple applications based around the same underlying cases.  Due to the interest in the stay recently granted in…

Forced Judicial Restraint

When, soon after his nomination to the Supreme Court, Judge Garland was praised for his judicial restraint, this praise was not envisioned for the type of impact Judge Garland’s nomination has made on the Court so far.  Similarly, no one calling for judicial restraint or decrying the Court’s judicial activism prior to 2016 expected change to come in…

Cert Filing Leaders

Chambers and Partners regularly releases highly regarded law firm rankings and comparisons. One of these guides compares top appellate firms. The firms detailed in Chambers’ list are top players in the Supreme Court and employ many of the attorneys with the most extensive Supreme Court expertise. While these firms are recognized for their work in…

The Three Shifts of Chief Justice John Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts’ resume is not remarkably unique for a Supreme Court Justice. That is not to say that it is not impressive. There is scant evidence of an imperfection from his Harvard undergrad and law school education, appellate and Supreme Court clerkships, work in the Solicitor General’s Office, big firm law practice, and…

Bringing in the Big Guns

In a cautious and almost trepidatious manner the Supreme Court has slowly filled in part of its docket for the 2016 Term. The correlation between this slow-moving approach to cert and the empty seat on the Court is unmistakable. There are currently eight cases scheduled for argument in October. The Court already granted cert in…

Still A Conservative Court

It’s a new day for the Supreme Court. We are in uncharted territory with this current Supreme Court vacancy with no end in sight.  In some respect this has led to a liberal shift in the Court’s general demeanor – especially since this is the first time in decades that conservative Justices have not held a majority…