Loud Voices From Below

The Supreme Court only takes a small fraction of cases petitioned to it every year and there is no perfect formula for ensuring a case makes its way to the Court.  There are, however, several signals that can help a case along the way.  Much of what matters has to do with uniformity in case…

An Uphill Battle for the Court’s Liberals

“[I]f a law be in opposition to the Constitution, if both the law and the Constitution apply to a particular case, so that the Court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to the Constitution, disregarding the law, the Court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs…

A Matter of Life and Death

The Supreme Court may be on summer recess but that doesn’t mean the justices are free from work-related obligations.  Throughout the year some of the most significant decisions the justices make are performed unilaterally.  The justices are each assigned to a certain geographic region associated with a judicial circuit or circuits and by virtue of…

A Changing of the Guard? (Probably Not But the Evidence is Mixed)

In an article I wrote last year I found several Supreme Court repeat players were much more successful than others in getting the Supreme Court to hear their cases. Many of these “Elite Cert Attorneys” argue multiple cases each term before the justices.  They all have high exposure to all aspects of Supreme Court process and…

Developing the Court’s Precedent 2016

Through the course of a single term, the Supreme Court went from a “boring” eight member body to one apparently itching to take on polarizing political issues.  This transformation took place in the Court’s first full term without Justice Scalia since 1986.  Some (including Justice Breyer) speculated that Scalia’s absence would have a large impact…

First-Timers in the Court

In recent years, a lot has been made of the repeat players before the U.S. Supreme Court – and rightfully so. They are involved in many high profile cases the justices hear, several have prior governmental experience…and they win. These attorneys include past-SG’s Seth Waxman, Ted Olson, and Paul Clement among others.  An understudied but…

SCOTUS Success 2016

Now that the Supreme Court term is over, let the scoring begin.  While this post looks at the most successful firms, litigators, and groups before the Supreme Court during the 2016 term, there are several caveats to note.  First, this post looks at success before the Court as measured by win counts. Second, getting to…

That’s a SCOTUS Wrap

This term helped define what the Supreme Court may look like moving forward (of course discounting the possibility of other upcoming vacancies). With Justice Gorsuch’s seemingly conservative stances we appear to be moving back into a similar territory that existed with Justice Scalia on the Court.  Although the orally argued cases this term were not…

Justice Gorsuch: What We Know and What We Should Expect

Justice Gorsuch is just over two months into his tenure on the Supreme Court.  There are many unknowns regarding how he will judge at this level.  The cases he will decide on the Supreme Court are predominately different from those he saw on the 10th Circuit.  There is also an intuition that circuit court judges’…

A New Way of Defining Oral Argument Terrain

Oral arguments are one of the more empirically studied areas of Supreme Court decision making.  This may make intuitive sense. Oral arguments are one of the few moments where the justices’ decision making process transpires before members of the public.  Audio of these arguments is recorded and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.  Video…well…

Gorsuch’s First Majority Opinion and Some Comparisons

This post contains information on the split votes in the Roberts Court Justices’ first decisions’, the days between oral argument and their first decisions, and the lower court that ruled prior to the Supreme Court in each decision. Of the justices on the Court (and Justice Scalia), three had non-unanimous first opinions.  Ginsburg had the…