Breadcrumbs in a New Term

On November 6th, the Court released its first signed majority opinion of the term authored by Justice Ginsburg.  This is Ginsburg’s third consecutive term as author of the Court’s first signed majority opinion.  In a concise unanimous decision (8-0 since Kavanaugh did not participate), the Court in Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido held that…

With a Little Help from Academic Scholarship

Judges’ citations tell a lot about their dispositions. We can glean relationships between cases, judges’ perspectives on these cases, and judges’ relationships with other judges based on case citations. For this reason, empirical scholars have spent much time and energy analyzing judges’ citation patterns.  A slew of Supreme Court researchers have written fascinating pieces about…

State Fault Lines That Might Lead to Big Cases Before the Supreme Court

The Court currently has 43 arguments scheduled for this term.  For the most part, these cases will go under the radar. Even cases with large sets of amicus briefs, usually a good sign of generalized interest in cases, do not contain the same blockbuster quality as cases in recent terms.  For example, amici filed nearly…

What to Expect From Kavanaugh’s 1st Term

The tense waiting is now over as Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on October 6th 2018.  One of the big stories following Kavanaugh though is his low rate of public approval.  This low rate of approval was apparent soon after Kavanaugh was nominated.  Not only this, but as the figure below shows, Kavanaugh was…

The Wide Arc of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court now hears around 70 arguments a term and each case tends to have issues unique from others on the Court’s docket.  After the Court’s merits docket is assembled each term though, similarities between cases become apparent and these similarities may present an area of law where the Court is more invested and…

The Hottest Bench in Town

The practice of Supreme Court oral arguments has changed dramatically over time. Once multi-day events, Supreme Court oral arguments now typically take place in a one hour time span, only with some exceptions granted by the justices.  Not only has the time allotted to arguments changed but so has the justices’ engagement.  This increased engagement has…

Supreme Court All-Stars 2013-2017

Success in the Supreme Court is hard to define because it can be viewed in a variety of ways. Few attorneys have the opportunity to try cases there and even fewer argue multiple cases.  Part of success therefore is simply getting a case or cases to the Court. Once the Court agrees to hear a…

Will Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearings Provide Any Useful Information?

Supreme Court nominees’ confirmation hearings involve much dialogue between the nominees and senators.  In two chaotic days of hearings for Judge Kavanaugh, we have seen a full spectrum of behavior from both sides of the aisle.  Showboating aside, this is a genuinely important hearing for a crucial seat on the Court and hence emotions are running…

Without a Swing It’s Game Over for Democrats

The Democrats are in a precarious position in the latest battle for a seat on the Supreme Court. Many Democrats oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination and will not vote to confirm him. Others are requesting that the Senate hold off on voting on Kavanaugh’s confirmation until the National Archives produces the record setting million or so pages…

Building a Merits Docket in 2018

The Supreme Court hears its first oral argument of the 2018 term on the first Monday in October (Monday October 1st).  Before then, on September 24th, the justices will sit down to what is known as the “long conference” where the justices will review petitions for the first time since June.  The number of petitions…

The Big Business Court

The current Supreme Court is unabashedly friendly towards big business. How friendly? If the Court’s trajectory continues, perhaps as friendly as any Court dating back to the Lochner-era where laissez-faire policies exuded from the Court’s rulings. Prominent scholars, most notably Epstein, Landes, and Posner found empirical support for the proposition that the current Court is more pro-business…

A Little Change Will Do You Good: Oral Argument Interruptions 2017

Although female justices have only served on the Supreme Court since 1981, a relatively short slice of the Court’s history, gender imbalances have existed in oral argument interruptions for many years with female justices bearing the brunt of them. These imbalances were identified in a blog post on Empirical SCOTUS with subsequent commentary from Stephanie…