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…

Congressional Responses to Dobbs

The Supreme Court released its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health on June 24, 2022. Within a little over a month of the release, a robust discussion developed within both Houses of Congress on whether there should be a legislative response to this decision.  Congress is notorious for lots of discussion combined with little…

Opinions Say What?

One could make a colorable argument that SCOTUS cases decided by one vote are the most important decisions of the Court. One could also argue that unanimous opinions are either the most or least important decisions. Unanimous decisions require the cohesion of all of the justices from both sides of the ideological aisle. With such…

SCOTUS Petitions and Cases I’m Awaiting

The main mechanism by which parties send their cases to the Supreme Court for review is by cert petitions. With around 8,000 petitions each year from which the justices choose around 60-70 to hear on oral argument, the Court needs to find ways to quickly determine the most worthy cases. One of the ways the…