Looking Back to Assess the Potential Future of Oral Arguments

Over the past several years the Supreme Court has undergone substantial change. Not only has the face of the Court shifted, but so has its center with the departure of Justice Kennedy. Oral arguments offer the only vantage into the interactions and dynamics between the justices and provide some context for how they might vote…

If Ginsburg Leaves it Could be the Left’s Biggest Loss Yet

The saga over Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health seems to ebb and flow from the headlines almost daily.  Part of the mystery relates to the amount of information shared with the public. We know Ginsburg broke ribs and while providing care for her ribs doctors found malignant lesions in her lungs that were promptly removed. She…

Which Supreme Court Cases Are Generating the Most Interest?

This Supreme Court term, like the past several before it, has been slow out of the gates. It also marks another term with a new justice – this time Justice Kavanaugh.  The justices often find consensus early on in a term and after a largescale change only later to define or redefine their jurisprudential boundaries….

365 Days of Trump and the Supreme Court

How better to wrap up the calendar year than by examining the President’s take on his relationship with the Supreme Court – especially since the Court was one of President Trump’s favorite topics of discussion this past year. The context of these references ranged from from specificity to generalities and from praise to criticism.  Many of the…

The Heightened Importance of the Federal Circuit

This term the Supreme Court will hear arguments in its 100th case decided below by the Federal Circuit. The Court’s recent grant of the case Kisor v. Wilkie for argument also marks the fourth case granted from the Federal Circuit this term. This is by no means a small fraction of the Court’s total caseload….

The Strength of Precedent is in the Justices’ Actions, Not Words

During his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 2005, now Chief Justice Roberts exposited, “Judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent shaped by other judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath, and judges have to have modesty to be open in the decisional process…

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…