Developing the Court’s Precedent 2016

Through the course of a single term, the Supreme Court went from a “boring” eight member body to one apparently itching to take on polarizing political issues.  This transformation took place in the Court’s first full term without Justice Scalia since 1986.  Some (including Justice Breyer) speculated that Scalia’s absence would have a large impact…

Five SCOTUS Decisions Making Waves in the Lower Courts

The 2015/2016 Supreme Court Term had its fair share of significant cases. Some of these cases have effected and will effect large swaths of the population. The ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, for instance, sets guidelines for acceptable state regulations on abortion. Evenwel v. Abbott clarifies how states may draw legislative districts, thus…

Professors as Amici

Amicus briefs filed before the Supreme Court are most commonly used as a tool for interest groups use to convey their positions (for a look at interest groups’ use of amicus briefs see this article by Professor Paul Collins). This is not the sole use of such briefs though. Non-party individuals and groups that have an…

The Most Effective Friends of the Court

Amicus curiae briefs abound in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The rules on filing are sufficiently loose that almost anyone with the necessary funds and that is able to follow the proper filing procedures can file an amicus brief.  According to Justice Ginsburg these briefs along with other secondary sources can aid the Court in its…

Gold Standard Cites

Publications and citations are essential to the research academic. They help separate experts from novices in a given field. They provide metrics for universities to gauge the quality of their professors’ scholarship. In legal scholarship there is a particularly meaningful measure that distinguishes law from other disciplines: citations in published opinions. Supreme Court citations to…