Ketanji Brown Jackson Decision Dataset

President Biden has a major decision to make with who to nominate to fill Justice Breyer’s seat on the Supreme Court. One of the top contenders for the nomination is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson from the D.C. Circuit. Judge Jackson worked as an attorney in private practice, an assistant special counsel to the United States…

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…

Supreme Workhorses

A common refrain lately within circles interested in the Supreme Court has to do with the Court’s diminishing (or diminished) workload.  The Court clearly has taken fewer cases in recent years than it did farther in the past. The 53 signed opinions by the Court for the 2019 term marked the lowest opinion total in…

Elites at Cert

The odds are stacked against attorneys seeking to have their cases heard by the Supreme Court. While attorneys working on cases accepted for review have a 50/50 chance of success on the merits, the average likelihood of a cert grant is around 1%. Certain attorneys though have a much higher success rate (also documented in…

The Last Six Years of Oral Arguments in the Supreme Court

Supreme Court cases involve many moving parts. Attorneys working on briefs can total more than ten and from the briefs there is little available information to discern who put in the bulk of the effort. One key can be the counsel of record, although this is a tricky proxy. The Solicitor General, for instance, is…

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…

SCOTUS Oral Argument Week 1 Quantitative Recap

A week ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in five cases. These cases ranged from dealing with land and water disputes to sentence enhancements, from the admission of trial court evidence to state-secret privileges. Lots can be made of the words the justices and attorneys said in oral argument. What is not as obvious…

The Ideological Status-Quo in Supreme Court COVID-19 Litigation

The Court has decided 16 cases on emergency application related to the COVID-19 restrictions with obvious battle lines drawn between the justices (the 16 cases is after removing cases that appeared before the Court twice).  The Court’s newest appointee, Justice Barrett, helped establish herself on the Court’s right with her first opinion in the COVID…

The Court’s Decision Making Through January 2021

The addition of three justices in four years under President Donald Trump along with a year of Covid-19 has slowed the Supreme Court’s business. So far this term, we can note that the Court is in the midst of a downturn in terms of the number of opinions it decides by the end of January…

A New Look at Who’s Activist and Restrained on the Court

This country’s founders could not have anticipated the current power of the federal judiciary. Alexander Hamilton wrote to this effect in Federalist Paper #78, “The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take…

How the Court’s Decisions Limit the National Electorate

This post looks at the Supreme Court’s election law jurisprudence under the Roberts Court.  Supreme Court opinions and applications were searched from 2005 through the present for the term “election.” All cases were examined and any that related to elections or voting procedures were maintained in the dataset.  Cases were broken down across several issues…