Is the Court Tracking Right or Roberts Left?

While Supreme Court Justices’ votes are not purely the product of ideological preferences, some of the most important cases the justices decide come down to 5-4 splits along ideological lines. This was especially apparent during the 2017 Supreme Court term.  Even though Chief Justice Roberts was in the conservative camp for many of these split…

Amicus Policy Success in Impactful Supreme Court Decisions

Perhaps the biggest development in the modern Supreme Court alongside the great discretion the justices now have in dictating the cases they hear is the role of interest groups.  Over the past several decades the Supreme Court has increasingly become the forum for such groups and their attempts at persuasion; the object of persuasion being…

Supreme Court Movers and Shakers (Attorneys and Justices)

The consequences of certain decisions have repercussions far beyond those that affect the immediate cases.  While this is an indisputable aspect of decisions from courts of last resort, prognosticating the potential consequences of decisions is an art fraught with questionable inferences.  In a series of decisions the Supreme Court has a substantial policy impact. These…

The Court’s Recent Lack of Support for the Federal Government’s Agenda

This is the first of a series of two posts examining the federal government’s litigation in the Supreme Court. While this post looks at the last several terms of government litigation, the next will analyze the government’s upcoming cases.   The federal government, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), is the most frequent…

An Uphill Battle for the Court’s Liberals

“[I]f a law be in opposition to the Constitution, if both the law and the Constitution apply to a particular case, so that the Court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to the Constitution, disregarding the law, the Court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs…

The Justices’ Surprising Support (Or Lack Thereof) for the U.S.

Since it’s election season it seems like as good of a time as any to gauge the Justices’ support for the government.  The Justices and especially Justice Ginsburg have been by no means silent about the current presidential candidates.  Furthermore, the Supreme Court is more relevant in this election than possibly in any prior presidential election. …

Friends, Foes, and Votes

Since the beginning of the 2010 Supreme Court Term, 82 cases have been decided by one vote (80 by 5-4 votes and 2 by 4-3 votes. Both of the 4-3 votes were during the 2015 Term (see this post for more information on those cases)).  These include orally argued cases and non-orally argued decisions where…

The Three Shifts of Chief Justice John Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts’ resume is not remarkably unique for a Supreme Court Justice. That is not to say that it is not impressive. There is scant evidence of an imperfection from his Harvard undergrad and law school education, appellate and Supreme Court clerkships, work in the Solicitor General’s Office, big firm law practice, and…

Redistricting Precedent in Light of Evenwel

The Supreme Court decided Evenwel v. Abbott this week – a case with vast implications for legislative districts.  Some see the decision as snubbing Republicans by ruling that states and localities should use total rather than voting population to draw these districts.  Other commentary views the ruling as sufficiently narrow to allow future litigation in the same…