The Great Supreme Court Debate

One of, if not the main duty of the Supreme Court is safeguarding Constitutional guarantees.  Is the Court, however, the most important political branch of the government as well? For those who followed the Third Presidential Debate one could surely surmise such was and is the case.  From a rule of law perspective, the Court’s…

The Justices’ Surprising Support (Or Lack Thereof) for the U.S.

Since it’s election season it seems like as good of a time as any to gauge the Justices’ support for the government.  The Justices and especially Justice Ginsburg have been by no means silent about the current presidential candidates.  Furthermore, the Supreme Court is more relevant in this election than possibly in any prior presidential election. …

Garland’s Reach into the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court writes full decisions in around 70 orally argued cases every term.  The majority of these cases were previously heard by federal courts of appeals.  Each of the twelve federal appeals circuits, however, decides hundreds of cases every year, with only a tiny percentage going to the Supreme Court for further review.  Appeals…

Why Garland Makes Sense for Clinton and Obama

  Merrick Garland has a stellar judicial record.  None of the 330 decisions he authored have even been heard by the Supreme Court on writ of certiorari.  Few of his fellow jurists on the D.C. Circuit have dissented in cases where he wrote the majority opinion.  He has fed more clerks to the Supreme Court…

A Formula For Supreme Court Clerkships? Harvard and Garland

Is there a formula to becoming a Supreme Court clerk?  Perhaps a certain pedigree? How about a prior federal clerkship?  The short answer to all three questions is yes.  At very least, going to a certain school and working for a specific judge significantly enhance your chances. Much of the discussion surrounding Supreme Court clerkships has centered…

Signs of a Gridlocked SCOTUS

Congress has historically low levels of public approval.  Current Gallup Polls place Congress’ approval rating at around 18%.    The Supreme Court’s approval rating tends to hover much higher – generally around the 50% level.  One reason for this disparity is from sense that the Supreme Court does not engage in politics in the manner of other…

The Next Justice – In The Candidates’ Own Words

AP Photos / Charlie Neibergall / Matt Rourke The Supreme Court. A Major Election Concern? In this presidential election season the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Scalia has become a hot-button issue central to every campaign.  Take Hillary Clinton’s comment during April 14’s Democratic Debate (which I will return to later): “You know, there…

The Biggest Supreme Court Cases of the Term

This Term the Supreme Court decided to tackle cases dealing with a variety of hot-button issues ranging from the right to an abortion (or more specifically the right for who can provide an abortion) to the meaning of “one person, one vote.”  These issues affect a profound portion of the American populace.  Correspondingly these cases often make headlines,…

Analyzing News Coverage of Merrick Garland’s Nomination

(image from NPR)   With the help of a nifty tool piece of software that performs topic modeling, I distilled some of the major themes that appeared in national and local news covering the Garland nomination in print and online (this include several articles from some of the most widely read papers, e.g. New York Times…