Will Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearings Provide Any Useful Information?

Supreme Court nominees’ confirmation hearings involve much dialogue between the nominees and senators.  In two chaotic days of hearings for Judge Kavanaugh, we have seen a full spectrum of behavior from both sides of the aisle.  Showboating aside, this is a genuinely important hearing for a crucial seat on the Court and hence emotions are running…

The Justices’ Stances in United States v. Texas

The United States government represented by the Solicitor General is the most frequent party before the U.S. Supreme Court.  These regular appearances will be quite pronounced over the next two weeks.  The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in ten more cases before the end of the Term, and a representative from the Office of the Solicitor…

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…

Justice Sotomayor Shaking Up Post-Scalia Oral Arguments

f (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…

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…

Oral Arguments in Nichols v. United States

Federal laws for registered sex offenders are designed to be clear – under the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) if you are on this list and you move residences you need to update your residency.  And yet, what happens if you leave the United States? SORNA does not specify.  This is the issue…

Forecasting Votes in Hellerstedt

On March 2nd, the Court heard oral arguments in perhaps the most publicized case of the Term – Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (No. 15-274).  The case brings into question Texas’ new controversial law limiting who can perform abortions. Prior to oral arguments expectations were already high that the Justices would split along ideological lines…

Mining the Majority Opinion in Lockhart

Yesterday’s opinions in Lockhart showcased some unusual themes for the Court.  Between the majority and dissenting opinions the Justices referenced the Kansas City Royals and the movies Star Wars and Zoolander.  Atypical to say the least.  Here is take a deeper look at the language of Lockhart’s majority opinion using a few text mining and analysis…