The SCOTUS Tortoise and the Hare

With nine justices on the Supreme Court, consensus among five justices is necessary for any successful voting coalition.  Knowing this, there appears to be little incentive to vote alone.  Solo votes don’t have the power to generate precedent and do not even foreshadow any likelihood of gaining more adherents to such a view among a…

A Definitive Look at the New OAs Led by KBJ

Something is clearly different this Supreme Court term after only two weeks of oral arguments. There is a chippiness in the air that wasn’t overtly present before. The distinction between the left and the right of the Court is still in play, but newly appointed Justice Jackson has had control of the proceedings far more…

No Doppelgänger for Jackson

Justice Jackson is the first justice in recent times to enter a Court with a clear six justice bloc in the majority. Unfortunately (for her) she is in the minority of this grouping.  In the first week of oral arguments this term Jackson more or less solidified her position on the left of the Court…

The most powerful supermajority

Introduction As Cass Sunstein points out, the U.S. Supreme Court was mainly a single minded body for its first century and a half with very little dissent.  There were occasional dissents and concurrences, probably most notably Justice Harlan’s dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson.  Still, the uniformity in decision making made discerning the justices’ distinct views…

Opinions Say What?

One could make a colorable argument that SCOTUS cases decided by one vote are the most important decisions of the Court. One could also argue that unanimous opinions are either the most or least important decisions. Unanimous decisions require the cohesion of all of the justices from both sides of the ideological aisle. With such…

6-3 is the new SCOTUS 5-4

What this means? The Court’s most common split vote this term was six justices in the majority and three justices in dissent. The most frequent six justices in the majority were the Court’s conservative justices and the most frequent in the dissent were the three liberal justices. Why this matters? The Court’s biggest cases came…

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…