Empirical SCOTUS has analytics from today’s opinions (May 30, 2017). These are organized a bit differently from last week’s results. We’ve included a measure for opinion readability using the Gunning Fog Index (lower scores tend to equate to easier reading). The most frequent words in each majority opinion are also provided.
The Court release four decisions today in the cases: County of Los Angeles v. Mendez, BNSF R. Co. v. Tyrrell, Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions, Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark Int’l, Inc. (individual links are to the opinions. For more information on the cases see SCOTUSBlog’s 2016 term list of cases). One particularly noteworthy addition to today’s opinions was Justice Gorsuch’s participation in BNSF which is the first majority decision that included his vote.
Lexmark, one of the more awaited decisions of this term was also the longest majority opinion of the day. Below are comparisons of the opinions’ readability scores.
Although all opinions score towards the very readable side of the readability spectrum, Justice Thomas’ majority opinion in Esquivel ranks as the most complex of the bunch.
Next are additional metrics for each opinion. These include distinctive word count, sentence count, average words per sentence, and length of the longest sentence.
|Words per Sentence||10.76|
|Longest Sentence (Words)||61|
|Words per Sentence||7.19|
|Longest Sentence (Words)||57|
|BNSF – concur and dissent in part|
|Words per Sentence||8.74|
|Longest Sentence (Words)||53|
|Words per Sentence||11.55|
|Longest Sentence (Words)||63|
|Words per Sentence||11.28|
|Longest Sentence (Words)||56|
|Lexmark – concur and dissent in part|
|Words per Sentence||5.8|
|Longest Sentence (Words)||36|
Finally, there are graphs for the most frequent words in each majority opinion beginning with Mendez.
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