Justice Gorsuch: What We Know and What We Should Expect

Justice Gorsuch is just over two months into his tenure on the Supreme Court.  There are many unknowns regarding how he will judge at this level.  The cases he will decide on the Supreme Court are predominately different from those he saw on the 10th Circuit.  There is also an intuition that circuit court judges’…

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…

SCOTUS Opinion Stats: 5/30/2017

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…

The Year of the Patent

Possibly due to its eight Justice configuration, the Supreme Court heard a unique slate of cases this term with no noted landmark cases or decisions.  Then again perhaps landmark is in the eye of the beholder.  This term the Supreme Court heard six patent cases which conceivably is the most such cases the Supreme Court has heard…

Opinion Stats: Cooper v. Harris and Word Count Comparison for 5/22/2017

Cooper v. Harris Opinion Oral Argument Kagan Majority Sentences 718 Words 9826 Characters 49263 Syllables 15499 Polysyllables 1632 Words per sentence 13.685 Syllables per sentence 21.586 Syllables per word 1.577 Thomas Concurrence Sentences 20 Words 262 Characters 1246 Syllables 384 Polysyllables 43 Words per sentence 13.1 Syllables per sentence 19.2 Syllables per word 1.466 Alito…

Opinion Stats: Water Splash

Alito Majority Opinion Sentences 256 Words 3042 Characters 15199 Syllables 4828 Polysyllables 581 Words per sentence 11.883 Syllables per sentence 18.859 Syllables per word 1.587 Oral Argument Oral Argument: Order of Speaking