What the Justices Cited in OT 2018

During the 2018 term, the Supreme Court heard 67 oral arguments leading to decisions. The justices’ opinions cited briefs filed in these cases and law articles approximately 601 times. These citations were from a total of approximately 330 briefs and articles.  The citations were primarily clustered in certain cases. For instance, 30 cases or about…

A Wild Ride of a Term with Twenty Decisions Still to Go

The 2018 Supreme Court Term has taken many twists and turns, and there are still 20 decisions the Court has to release in its last week and a half of work before summer recess. Much may change between now and then, but with 55 cases already decided, we have unique and surprising patterns of decision-making among the justices.  This is most apparent in the Court’s 5-4 (or 5-3) decisions, where one vote could shift a decision in a different direction.  

Thomas Authors Home Depot v. Jackson

Justice Thomas authored the majority opinion in Home Depot v. Jackson released this morning. There are several facets of this decision that are worth noting.  It was a 5-4 decision with the more liberal justices — Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer — in the majority and the other more conservative justices — Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch,…

So Happy Together

With many anticipated decisions still to come in the next month or so, the Supreme Court has already started to define itself in the post-Kennedy era.  Certain patterns have emerged in the justices’ voting that distinguish this Court from past Courts. We are also beginning to see how the newest justices and Trump appointees —…

Advocates that Drive the Justices’ Votes

Supreme Court scholars often debate the role of lawyers in Supreme Court decision making.  For an attitudinalist, the justices’ preferences make all (or at least most of) the difference.  According to this theory justices will often vote based on their preferred policy direction, which minimizes the role of advocacy.  More recent studies show that such…

Is Kavanaugh as Conservative as Expected?

On Monday April 1, 2019 the Supreme Court decided the case Bucklew v. Precythe with the five conservative justices in the majority and the four liberals in dissent. To some including legal scholar and CNN analyst Steve Vladeck, this ruling ushered in a new conservative Court without the moderating anchor of Justice Kennedy.  Going even…

Is the Court Tracking Right or Roberts Left?

While Supreme Court Justices’ votes are not purely the product of ideological preferences, some of the most important cases the justices decide come down to 5-4 splits along ideological lines. This was especially apparent during the 2017 Supreme Court term.  Even though Chief Justice Roberts was in the conservative camp for many of these split…

Who’s in the Majority?

While few people ever have the opportunity of sitting on the Supreme Court, some similarities exist between this upper echelon of judging and other jobs. One parallel has to do with job satisfaction.  While judges that make it all the way to the Supreme Court should feel accomplished and contented by their achievements, there also…

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…

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…