Justice Breyer: Just the Facts

With Justice Breyer’s retirement tomorrow here are some facts about the justice and his career on and before joining the Court: He was the 22nd longest serving justice at 28 years on the Court (Douglas was longest serving at 36 years). Was nominated at 55 by President Clinton in 1994 Had a well-qualified rating from…

What will the Roberts Court’s most lasting legacy be?

After the Court overruled Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs decision many people would likely answer that the Roberts Court’s lasting legacy will be doing away with a constitutional right to an abortion. Looking at individual decisions though, the Roberts Court has structurally changed quite a bit of policy with landmark decisions in areas such…

Comparing The Draft and Final Opinions in Dobbs

The official opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health was released this morning.  According to Jake Truscott it was the third-longest Supreme Court opinion since 1946 and the longest of this term by over 10,000 words (the second-longest so far was the NY Rifle opinion released two days prior).  When Politico released the draft opinion…

The Importance of Egbert v. Boule

The Court’s latest decision came on Wednesday when the justices ruled in Egbert v. Boule. 29 decisions remain before the end of the term. Why is this decision important? The case has quite far reaching implications by further limiting the scope of Bivens claims (this Court has already constrained Bivens application in previous decisions) against…

Is the Roberts Court the Least Productive Court of All Time?

The Supreme Court was not always the powerful institution is it today. The original lack of power was part of the Court’s institutional design. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federal Paper #78, “…the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power; that it can never attack with success either of the other…

Scalito

Justice Alito is often compared to Justice Scalia in his level of conservativism. In my opinion there are some significant differences between the two. A recent piece by Aziz Huq in Politico describes, “[Alito’s] early, subtly disparaging nickname, ‘Scalito,’ suggests he is a mere mini-me clone of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.”  The data show…

Was it Ever Really Roberts’ Court?

It has been a long two weeks for the Supreme Court.  Since the leak of Alito’s opinion in the Dobbs abortion case, several of the Supreme Court Justices have come forward offering their thoughts on the leak. According to the Washington Post, “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. called the leak ‘absolutely appalling.’ The Supreme…

The Justice Behind the Dobbs Draft Opinion

Justice Alito, one of two Supreme Court nominees by President George W. Bush, has turned out to be one of the most certain conservative votes on the Court. Alito’s draft majority opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson was released by Politico last week shining a spotlight on the very real possibility that the Court will overturn…

Justice Breyer’s Legacy In Numbers

Much of the Supreme Court landscape has changed since Justice Breyer joined the Supreme Court in 1994.  Breyer is currently the second longest-tenured justice on the Court after Justice Thomas. The ideological balance has changed from a 5-4 conservative/liberal composition with the occasional swing vote from Justice Kennedy in the middle.  With the three Trump-appointed…

Does the Supreme Court React to Congressional Preferences?

In the 2019 case United States v. Davis, Justice Gorsuch began with an important statement regarding constitutional statutes. Gorsuch wrote, “In our constitutional order, a vague law is no law at all. Only the people’s elected representatives in Congress have the power to write new federal criminal laws. And when Congress exercises that power, it…