Even Best Friends Sometimes Disagree

Supreme Court Justices voting practices are fairly predictable.  For instance, most decisions are unanimous. Since the longest serving justice on the Court, Justice Thomas joined the Court in 1991 42.65% of argued cases have returned unanimous votes.  The Court also tends to reverse lower court decisions. The justices voted to reverse the lower court decision…

The Last Justice Standing

After the Supreme Court released its most recent set of decisions last Thursday, SCOTUSBlog’s James Romoser captured a unique insight of the justices’ votes so far – newly appointed Justice Jackson is the only justice so far who has been entirely in the majority in each of the Court’s six decisions.  This was potentially surprising…

SCOTUS Predictions Based on Lower Court Judges

One of the best ways to forecast future events is through past trends.  The U.S. Supreme Court hears the majority of its cases after a decision is rendered by one of the 13 federal courts of appeals.  Since there are 13 circuits and the Supreme Court takes somewhere between 60 and 70 cases each term…

Two Decisions Down and Fifty-Eight to Go

The Supreme Court released two decisions on January 23 to kick off its merits opinion releases for this term. One was a unanimous decision in Arellano v. McDonough, a case about the effective date of an award of disability compensation to a veteran of the United States military which was authored by Justice Barret while…

Roberts Court Jurisprudence: What Was and What Will Come

What is the Supreme Court’s most important work? Although peoples’ answers may vary, one of the Court’s most important outputs is its opinion language. Through its precedent, the Court develops standards for people to follow and for lower courts to articulate in subsequent decisions. Precedent guides decision making from the top down and affects outcomes…

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…