End of OT 2021 Hot Takes

Now that the term is over, what can we make of it? Was it really as bad for Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor as some make it out to be? In some sense definitely. They were in dissent together in the biggest cases of the term — New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and West Virginia v. EPA to name a few. They were even in dissent in the order released on June 28th for the Louisiana partisan gerrymandering case which was also granted cert.

What about the nitty-gritty details?

The liberal justices (Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer) were in dissent together with no other justices in 13 decisions (or 21.7% of the total cases decided). This includes

  • Brown v. Davenport
  • United States v. Tsarnaev
  • New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen
  • Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller
  • Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
  • Shinn v. Ramirez
  • Carson v. Makin
  • Garland v. Gonzalez
  • Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate
  • Egbert v. Boule
  • Vega v. Tekoh
  • Kennedy v. Bremerton School District
  • WV v. EPA

These liberal justices were also in six 5-4 majorities

  • Becerra v. Empire Health Foundation
  • Concepcion v. United States
  • Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas
  • Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Nance v. Ward
  • Biden v. Texas

The liberals were in 5-4 dissents with Gorsuch in three instances

  • Patel v. Garland
  • Shoop v. Twyford
  • Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta

Gorsuch also dissented twice in 6-3 decisions with two liberal justices and no others. These were in Denezpi v. United States (with Sotomayor and Kagan) and George v. McDonough with (with Breyer and Sotomayor)

There were 17 unanimous decisions this term

  • Mississippi v. Tennessee
  • Wooden v. United States
  • WWH v. Jackson
  • Houston Community College System v. Wilson
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fazaga
  • American Hospital Association v. Becerra
  • Hughes v. Northwestern University
  • Boechler, P.C. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
  • Shurtleff v. City of Boston
  • Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation
  • Ruan v. United States
  • Morgan v. Sundance
  • Golan v. Saada
  • ZF Automotive US, Inc. v. Luxshare
  • Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon
  • Siegel v. Fitzgerald
  • United States v. Washington

We saw solo dissents in 10 cases. Thomas and Sotomayor both had three, Gorsuch had two, and both Barrett and Breyer had one.

Finally the vote breakdowns for all of the justices with their percentages of frequency in the majority (the fraction depends on what is counted as a decision so for instance I did not count National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a decision even though it was argued. That case was on an application for a stay and led to a per curiam opinion.

JusticeMajority VotesDissent VotesFrequency in Majority

Signing off for now…

On Twitter: @AdamSFeldman

2 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s