The Court’s Most Cited Decisions of 2016

One trope that was often repeated this past Supreme Court term was that the Court did not take on a particularly exciting caseload.  Evidence for this comes in the form of the unprecedented level of agreement among the justices compounded by the eight justice composition for most of the term that wished to avoid 4-4…

SCOTUS Success 2016

Now that the Supreme Court term is over, let the scoring begin.  While this post looks at the most successful firms, litigators, and groups before the Supreme Court during the 2016 term, there are several caveats to note.  First, this post looks at success before the Court as measured by win counts. Second, getting to…

Justices, Tenure, and What to Expect Moving Forward

A ninth Justice sits on the Supreme Court today for oral arguments for the first time in over a year.  Justice Gorsuch at 49 years of age has the potential to fill the seat previously occupied by Justice Scalia for years to come.  Gorsuch is on the younger end of the age spectrum for Supreme…

The Justices, Gender Equity, and Oral Arguments

Below is the abstract from my new article, Echoes from a Gendered Court: Examining the Justices’ Interactions During Supreme Court Oral Arguments, co-authored by Rebecca Gill: Supreme Court oral arguments are the only publicly scheduled opportunities for the Justices and advocates to directly engage in discussions about a case. There are few rules to regulate…

Bringing Cases in an Unusual Term: Top Petitioners and Cert Amici

There are certain criteria that indicate or signal the importance of a Supreme Court petition to the Court –experienced SCOTUS counsel on the cert briefs, federal governmental involvement, and cert stage amicus briefs – just to name a few.  Although there is no surefire way to predict whether the Court will grant cert in a…

The Supreme Court and the Next Generation of Executive Power Cases

Over the past several months an entirely new class of executive power-related concerns have percolated through the national media and have begun burgeoning in federal courts.  Prior to the election of President-Elect Trump, few knew about the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution and how it could be violated.  Just this morning Trump’s comments on Twitter…

The Summer Pipeline

Supreme Court Justices make few official decisions during the summer. Generally, these relate to emergency matter that require quick injunctive responses. For lawyers, however, the situation is quite different (as the saying goes “time and tide wait for no man”).  While the Court does not rule on cases during the summer, cert petitions accumulate just…

Research Corner: 7/15/2016

Three new works on the study of judicial behavior: Alma Cohen, Alon Klement & Zvika Neeman, Judicial Decision Making: A Dynamic Reputation Approach, J. Legal Stud. (2015) Examines “how judicial elections affect the incentives and decisions of judges”   Lee Epstein, Some Thoughts on the Study of Judicial Behavior, 57 Wm. & Mary L. Rev….

SCOTUS Briefs: Opinions’ Basic Building Blocks

A Supreme Court opinion is a mixture of law, fact, and interpretation.  By the time cases reach the Supreme Court, they amass a detailed record from the lower court(s) (except for the very few instances of original actions) and a large number of appellate filings.  The case with the most amicus briefs on the merits…

Research Corner: 6/24/2016

Three more papers worth reading: The Changing Face of the Supreme Court by A.E. Dick Howard (University of Virginia School of Law) Note: A very nice descriptive look at the evolution of the Court along multiple dimensions since the Warren Court years. Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Do Justices Tip Their Hands with Questions at…

Research Corner 6/17/2016

New research tackling questions in the domains of Supreme Court Studies and Empirical Legal Research (1) “Systems Science and the Supreme Court“  by Alan Calnan (Southwestern Law School) Note: uniquely posits an alternative way to think through the current stalemate in the Supreme Court confirmation process (2) “Strategic Cooperation: Modeling Concurring Behavior on the U.S. Supreme…