What to Expect From Kavanaugh’s 1st Term

The tense waiting is now over as Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on October 6th 2018.  One of the big stories following Kavanaugh though is his low rate of public approval.  This low rate of approval was apparent soon after Kavanaugh was nominated.  Not only this, but as the figure below shows, Kavanaugh was…

A Little Change Will Do You Good: Oral Argument Interruptions 2017

Although female justices have only served on the Supreme Court since 1981, a relatively short slice of the Court’s history, gender imbalances have existed in oral argument interruptions for many years with female justices bearing the brunt of them. These imbalances were identified in a blog post on Empirical SCOTUS with subsequent commentary from Stephanie…

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…

Name Dropping in Oral Argument

Supreme Court oral argument is the setting where attorneys get to present their cases to the justices. It is a chance for justices to ask questions and for attorneys to convey important information; especially information that might not be contained in the briefs.  Oral argument also functions as a setting for dialogue.  In this respect,…

The Strategic Right – Oral Arguments at the Beginning of the 2017 Term

Several possible facets of the justices’ new oral argument strategies became apparent during the first week of oral arguments for the 2017 Supreme Court term.  The Court began with a series of high-profile cases – perhaps none as discussed and hotly contested as Gill v. Whitford which looks at gerrymandered voting districts in Wisconsin.  The…

Interruptions and References

  Supreme Court oral arguments are traditionally thought of as a time for the Justices to interact with and ask question of attorneys in a case.  One of the lesser thought of aspects of oral arguments has to do with the interaction among the Justices.  Over the years several studies and articles have looked at this…

A Busy Year at the OSG

The United States Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) within the U.S. Department of Justice has its hands full with Supreme Court litigation.  Granted, “busy” is a relative term as the OSG has had fewer Supreme Court filings this Term than it has since 2010 (which will almost assuredly still be the case at the end…

The Regulars: Supreme Court Litigation 2015-2016

  Since 2001 the Supreme Court has written full opinions in 67-75 orally argued cases per Term.  We are certain not to see more than 75 this Term and nowhere near the 151 such cases in the 1982 and 1983 Terms, which were high points for the second half of the 20th century.  With fewer cases,…

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…

Atypical Oral Arguments In Puerto Rico v. Franklin CA Trust

On Tuesday the Court heard arguments in Puerto Rico v. Franklin Cal. Tax-Free Trust a case that examines whether Congress precluded Puerto Rico from the ability to restructure its public utility debt. Specifically the case looks at whether Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code applies to Puerto Rico.  Much of the case and the arguments…

Analysis of the Zubik Arguments

What was said over the course of the 90 minute the oral arguments today in Zubik? Quite a bit. Commentators seem to think the Justices may split their votes four to four (e.g. Adam Liptak from the New York Times) with the Justices predominately to the right: Kennedy, Alito, Thomas, and Roberts voting that the…

Amicus Briefs and Oral Arguments in the Roberts Court

Do the Justices and their clerks do their homework by reading and analyzing amicus briefs prior to oral arguments? In preparation for a larger project, I thought it would be interesting to probe this question (this also seems timely given Adam Liptak’s column in the New York Times on a recent study examining amicus briefs). …