The “Right” Stuff

The Constitution as originally drafted excluded certain rights. These rights were were instead later added as amendments to the Constitution in the form of the Bill of Rights. Commentary leading up to the establishment of a Constitution found in the Federalist Papers discusses the importance of amendments and the process by which they might be…

Comparing Cert Stage OSG Efforts Under Obama and Trump

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is involved in more Supreme Court litigation on a yearly basis than any other entity. The OSG also plays a unique role in this litigation as its team provides the Court with information, which is oftentimes related to the incumbent administration’s policy views.  This singular position has been…

Building a Merits Docket in 2018

The Supreme Court hears its first oral argument of the 2018 term on the first Monday in October (Monday October 1st).  Before then, on September 24th, the justices will sit down to what is known as the “long conference” where the justices will review petitions for the first time since June.  The number of petitions…

To Extend or Not to Extend

Occasionally someone will posit a question about Supreme Court practice to me dealing with an issue I haven’t examined. Recently, I had one such interaction with John Elwood of Vinson & Elkins.  John asked if I had looked at applications for extensions of time to file petitions for writs of certiorari. As I hadn’t looked…

BriefCatching 2017 Cert-Stage Filings

  Good writing quality is one of the greatest assets for attorneys practicing before any court.  While there is no universally accepted measure of good writing, software engineers are currently designing programs that measure writing quality in innovative and accurate ways.  In past, Empirical SCOTUS has employed off-the-shelf metrics for writing quality to compare filings…

Successful Cert Amici 2014

With 7,006 cases disposed of during the 2014 Supreme Court term, Supreme Court Justices and clerks had an abundance of cases on their plates.  One way that the Justices and clerks find their way to the more important cases (specifically to cases that are important to people beyond the individual parties in the case) is…

Cert Winners 2014: Attorneys and Firms

Thinking of submitting a case to the Supreme Court? Most likely not.  If so, be prepared to have your case rejected.  The Supreme Court is extremely selective about the cases it hears typically only taking cases with circuit splits, of great importance, and with issues that have sufficiently percolated through the lower courts.  The majority…