With a Little Help from Academic Scholarship

Judges’ citations tell a lot about their dispositions. We can glean relationships between cases, judges’ perspectives on these cases, and judges’ relationships with other judges based on case citations. For this reason, empirical scholars have spent much time and energy analyzing judges’ citation patterns.  A slew of Supreme Court researchers have written fascinating pieces about…

One Opinion More Complex Than the Next

The Supreme Court finally appears decently situated to complete its decision making for the term.  Some holdups are still in play including the long since argued case of Gill v. Whitford.  Gill was argued 255 days from the next possible opinion release date of June 14, 2018.  Only 10 cases have taken longer to decide…

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…

Out of Steam or Out of Time

For those following the Supreme Court, the notion that the Court is moving slowly this term has already been reiterated multiple times.  The first clear notion of the Court’s historically slow pace came with the timing of the Court’s second signed decision which was the modern Court’s latest second opinion released in a term.  Other analyses…

Help a Justice Out

While Supreme Court justices are often guarded about how they come to their decisions, there are occasions where they are much more transparent. During oral argument, it is not uncommon for justices to bluntly say to an attorney “help me -” followed by a certain request.  Instances where justices enlist attorneys’ help during oral argument present…

Major Players in the Lower Courts

Cases’ contours are primarily defined by the time they reach the Supreme Court.  These contours take shape through litigation in lower courts.  In the lower courts, judges make decisions that are by and large upheld as they are generally are left untouched.  Even if appeals courts wanted to take a larger role in the universe…

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…

Fast Out of the Gates (SCOTUS’ October 2017 Oral Arguments)

On October 2nd, the Supreme Court will be back in session with the first oral arguments of 2017.  Since Justice Scalia passed away in February 2016 the justices have taken a light caseload and generally have not heard cases that would lead to great rifts among themselves.  This non-divisive set of cases during the 2016…