With a Little Help from Academic Scholarship

Judges’ citations tell a lot about their dispositions. We can glean relationships between cases, judges’ perspectives on these cases, and judges’ relationships with other judges based on case citations. For this reason, empirical scholars have spent much time and energy analyzing judges’ citation patterns.  A slew of Supreme Court researchers have written fascinating pieces about…

Judicial Politics, Roberts’ Dilemma, and One Crazy Term

This Supreme Court term was nerve racking for some conservatives (mainly unwarranted), most liberals (with good reason), and probably for some of the justices too, and yet all for different rationales. Below I’ll go through what may have caused this tension and why members of these three groups might have felt it. Before the Court’s…

Slicing and Dicing the Court’s 2017 Oral Arguments

While the Supreme Court is lagging in releasing its decisions this term, the justices wrapped up hearing oral arguments almost a month ago.  The justices heard 63 oral arguments between October 2017 and April 2018.  Within that block of time many expectations were reaffirmed while several new paths were blazed. Aside from those who sit…

Something to Talk About

Oral arguments have always been central to Supreme Court adjudication.  In early Supreme Court practice oral arguments were the primary means by which the justices learned about cases.  Currently, oral arguments convey less original information to the justices, but still are helpful tools for the justices to learn about dimensions in each case not brought out…

Help a Justice Out

While Supreme Court justices are often guarded about how they come to their decisions, there are occasions where they are much more transparent. During oral argument, it is not uncommon for justices to bluntly say to an attorney “help me -” followed by a certain request.  Instances where justices enlist attorneys’ help during oral argument present…