Locating Weak Causal Strands in the Justices’ Opinions

In the introduction to the eye opening work on the Supreme Court certiorari process Deciding to Decide, author H.W. Perry summarizes the Court’s lack of institutional transparency. Perry wrote, “Although some rules are published, most of the internal procedures are by consensus, are unpublished, and are frequently unknown” (p. 17). Perry goes on, “We on…

Is Oral Argument Talking Time All It’s Cut Out to Be?

Supreme Court oral arguments are not all what they seem. While at first blush they may appear to be an opportunity for attorneys to make their arguments before the judges, they often become instances for the justices to test out their theories of a given case and to gauge other justices’ positions on given topics….

A Wild Ride of a Term with Twenty Decisions Still to Go

The 2018 Supreme Court Term has taken many twists and turns, and there are still 20 decisions the Court has to release in its last week and a half of work before summer recess. Much may change between now and then, but with 55 cases already decided, we have unique and surprising patterns of decision-making among the justices.  This is most apparent in the Court’s 5-4 (or 5-3) decisions, where one vote could shift a decision in a different direction.  

Is Kavanaugh as Conservative as Expected?

On Monday April 1, 2019 the Supreme Court decided the case Bucklew v. Precythe with the five conservative justices in the majority and the four liberals in dissent. To some including legal scholar and CNN analyst Steve Vladeck, this ruling ushered in a new conservative Court without the moderating anchor of Justice Kennedy.  Going even…