Looking Back to Make Sense of the Court’s (Relatively) Light Workload

There have been interesting discussions as of late regarding the Supreme Court’s light workload and how it is getting even lighter.  Evidence of this decline can be found in quantitative analyses of the Supreme Court’s work.  It is a not a subject addressed by any member of the Court.  The Chief Justice, for example, did mention…

A New Era in SCOTUS Textualism

Legal interpretation begins with a legal text. At least in theory it does.  While in practice this is not always the case, textualism has become synonymous with conservatism in recent Court eras primarily due to Justice Scalia’s reliance on the language of statutory texts.  In practice, a textualist approach is not limited by judicial ideology and…

The Next Nominee to the Supreme Court

For all of the criticism the Trump Administration has received in recent weeks and months, one thing that Republicans almost universally agree upon is that President Trump has done well in reshaping the federal judiciary.  This distinction even led to the genesis of stress balls with the caption “But Gorsuch!” distributed at the most recent Federalist…

Who’s on the Case: Successful Cert Petitions 2017

The Supreme Court has its calendar set through January 2018 with ten cases already accepted for argument that are as of yet unscheduled.  The total number of case grants so far is 53, and with consolidated cases this will lead to 47 arguments.  This puts the Court on pace for one of the slowest grant rates…

Name Dropping in Oral Argument

Supreme Court oral argument is the setting where attorneys get to present their cases to the justices. It is a chance for justices to ask questions and for attorneys to convey important information; especially information that might not be contained in the briefs.  Oral argument also functions as a setting for dialogue.  In this respect,…

A Dearth of Female Attorneys at Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Female attorneys have a long history arguing before the Supreme Court dating back to Belva Lockwood’s argument in 1880. While Lockwood’s argument helped proverbially break the glass ceiling for women to practice before the Supreme Court, such opportunities have proven difficult to come by as female attorneys only make up a small fraction of the…

Attorneys in the Clutch

Earlier this year I ran a blog post on the most powerful justices across time, which focused on their decisions in cases with single vote margin majorities.  That post accounted for the decision makers, but it did not consider the attorneys whose arguments factor into the justices’ decision calculi.  This post takes a look at…

Fast Out of the Gates (SCOTUS’ October 2017 Oral Arguments)

On October 2nd, the Supreme Court will be back in session with the first oral arguments of 2017.  Since Justice Scalia passed away in February 2016 the justices have taken a light caseload and generally have not heard cases that would lead to great rifts among themselves.  This non-divisive set of cases during the 2016…

Top Firms’ Supreme Court Business: Some Stay Close While Others Stay Away

Multiple services annually rank law firms along several dimensions and according to various measures.  Even with these rankings there is little objective gauge of a firm’s quality and rightfully so. There are many aspects that go into a firm’s relative quality and some are easier to gauge than others.  One thing that these rankings almost…

Law Schools, Judges, and Government Attorneys

This post extends beyond the Supreme Court to look at which law schools have been most successful placing current government attorneys and sitting federal judges around the nation (thank you Jack Metzler / @SCOTUSplaces for the idea).  The positions examined include United States Attorneys, sitting federal judges, and state attorney generals and solicitor generals (AGs,…

A Changing of the Guard? (Probably Not But the Evidence is Mixed)

In an article I wrote last year I found several Supreme Court repeat players were much more successful than others in getting the Supreme Court to hear their cases. Many of these “Elite Cert Attorneys” argue multiple cases each term before the justices.  They all have high exposure to all aspects of Supreme Court process and…

First-Timers in the Court

In recent years, a lot has been made of the repeat players before the U.S. Supreme Court – and rightfully so. They are involved in many high profile cases the justices hear, several have prior governmental experience…and they win. These attorneys include past-SG’s Seth Waxman, Ted Olson, and Paul Clement among others.  An understudied but…