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…

Highly Citable

Attorneys before the Supreme Court have multiple goals.  Whether the ultimate goal is winning a case, affecting public policy, or testing the constitutionality of a piece of legislation, good counsel get the justices’ attention.  How they get the justices’ attention varies.  Some engender attention through their regular experience before the Court while others through the…

SCOTUS Opinion Stats: 6/5/2017

This week Justice Gorsuch participated in three of the five opinions – Kokesh, Honeycutt, and Laroe. He has yet to write an opinion.  Justice Kagan once again has the lengthiest decision with the majority in Advocate Health.  Advocate was also the only decision with a separate opinion as Justice Sotomayor wrote a concurrence. Links to the…

A Ban The Court Would Love to Avoid

On June 1, the Trump Administration filed its application to stay the Fourth Circuit’s preliminary injunction against the attempted travel ban and petition for cert in the case.  While this is only the Supreme Court’s first potential entry point into this dispute, it marks an opportunity for the Court to rule on a central item…

Why Justice Kennedy May Not Leave The Court Right Now

The Supreme Court is not an institution with regular turnover.  Since the Justices have life tenure, many stay on well into old age and often for decades.  The Justices are insulated in their positions for life and there is little incentive to move to other jobs.  In fact, the last Justice to leave the Court…