Judge Amy Coney Barrett Case Dataset

The 622 decisions listed below comprise the set of opinions Judge Barrett’s name is listed on during her stint on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Scroll to the right in the dataset to view all of the variables. The variables that may need some additional information include: Vote: What was Barrett’s vote in the…

Clear Polarization in Second Level Supreme Court Decision Making

Over the past five Supreme Court Terms the justices have issued 157 separate opinions from Court orders. These are cases that are not orally argued and do not receive full merits consideration. We do not necessarily know all the justices votes in these cases – only the ones the justices made public through signing onto separate opinions. Of these 157 opinions, only two include at least one conservative and one liberal justice signed onto the same opinion. Both are dissents from Justices Gorsuch and Sotomayor in criminal cases. The other 155 separate opinions split the justices ideologically or are solo authored. The spotlight on the Court’s polarization could not be clearer.

The Recent Role of Separate Opinions

In a 2015 article for the Washington Post reviewing Melvin Urofsky’s book Dissent and the Supreme Court, the David Cole wrote, “What determines a great dissent…is not necessarily the power of the argument but the shifting tides of history…History, not rhetoric or cogency, determines whether a dissent wins out in the long run. Yet by articulating a…

Amid Record-Breaking Consensus the Justices’ Divisions Still Run Deep

How divided is the current Supreme Court? On the surface the answer appears mixed.  Much conversation over from the past several years surrounding the Court’s decisions has had to do with partisan and ideological divisions among the justices.  These divisions and the Court’s rightward shift appear a reality as evidenced by the systematic victories of…

When Opposites Attract Ideology Falls to the Wayside

Lots of noise is made about partisan and ideological divides on the Supreme Court.  There tends to be less hubbub surrounding instances when justices that traditionally divide ideologically, vote together. Such surprising coalitions formed in the majority and dissent for the Court’s decision in last week’s Patchak v. Zinke ruling.  Although this decision was met with only…

Chief Justices’ Dissents (Vinson through Roberts)

(Image from New Yorker – 2007) A Twitter thread this morning started between Jeffrey Rosen and Kenneth Jost describes the number of dissenting opinions authored by Chief Justices – specifically comparing the number authored by Chief Justices Marshall and Taft (with relatively low number each) with Chief Justice Roberts (relatively higher comparatively).  I thought it…