Developing the Court’s Precedent 2016

Through the course of a single term, the Supreme Court went from a “boring” eight member body to one apparently itching to take on polarizing political issues.  This transformation took place in the Court’s first full term without Justice Scalia since 1986.  Some (including Justice Breyer) speculated that Scalia’s absence would have a large impact…

Oral Arguments OT 2015: A Look Back

On Wednesday April 29th the Supreme Court Justices heard their final oral argument of the Term with McDonnell v. United States.  The Justices heard a total of 69 arguments from October 2015 through April 2016 (not accounting separately for consolidated dockets; links to all of the transcripts, audio, and information about all of the cases…

Has The Supreme Court Turned a Liberal Tide?

The pieces are in place.  With Justice Scalia’s death the liberals on the Court (both ideologically speaking and by virtue of their appointments by Democratic Presidents) are matched evenly with the Court’s conservatives for the first time in almost half a century.  The last time a majority of Justices appointed by democrats sat on the…

A Shift in Oral Arguments: An Update

I recently wrote a post where I looked at Justice Scalia’s final ten oral arguments and compared them to the first ten oral arguments after his death.  There have been several oral arguments since then and with the data from those arguments I am able to expand the timeframe of that analysis.  In this post I examine…

The First Nineteen

(image via Boston Globe) So far, this has been an odd and unique Supreme Court Term in several respects.  For instance, Justices Thomas, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor all dissented in the same case (in DirecTV v. Imbrugia – Justice Thomas’ dissent was very different from Justice Ginsburg’s which Justice Sotomayor joined).  We’ve had a Justice pass…

Justice Sotomayor Shaking Up Post-Scalia Oral Arguments

(image via Los Angeles Times) It has been over a month since Justice Scalia, one of the most engaged Justices in oral arguments since he was confirmed to the Court in 1986, passed away on February 13, 2016.  For all of the commentary surrounding his passing and on the questions surrounding the process of confirming…