The First Batch of Decisions Each Term

Through the first thirty-five slip-opinions of the Supreme Court’s 2016 term there are notable similarities and differences from the Court’s prior terms.  All decisions so far this term were determined by eight Justices or fewer as Justice Gorsuch has yet to sign on to a majority or separate slip-opinion (Beckles v. United States, for instance…

Quick Note: 5-4 Decisions and Equally Divided Votes Since 1946

This Term was nothing if not unique.  The Justices had to sort through a majority of the decisions with one Justice missing.  With a Court of eight, the Justices could not possibly come to 5-4 decisions.  The Supreme Court was officially set at the size of nine members in 1869 and Congress has not changed…

Much Ado About Nothing?

Today the Supreme Court decided the seemingly innocuous case of Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore.  This case dealt with the liability of spousal guarantors under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.  On any other day this ruling might have gone unnoticed.  The decision is one line reading, “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided…