Expect Kavanaugh To Shift the Court Right. How Far No One Knows.

The discussion over who will fill the Supreme Court vacancy has dominated much of the political conversation since Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court on June 27.  Last night, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, an obvious choice and the one I predicted in December 2017, was announced as nominee.  When Kennedy’s retirement rumors previously circulated,…

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…

Garland’s Reach into the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court writes full decisions in around 70 orally argued cases every term.  The majority of these cases were previously heard by federal courts of appeals.  Each of the twelve federal appeals circuits, however, decides hundreds of cases every year, with only a tiny percentage going to the Supreme Court for further review.  Appeals…

A Tale of Two Constitutional Holdings

The Supreme Court held two state statutes unconstitutional during the the 2015 term*: portions of Florida’s death penalty law in Hurst v. Florida and Texas’ abortion statute in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. While lower court rulings relate to the specific statute(s) dealt with in a case, these decisions have nationwide implications. The Court’s decisions have constitutional…

Five SCOTUS Decisions Making Waves in the Lower Courts

The 2015/2016 Supreme Court Term had its fair share of significant cases. Some of these cases have effected and will effect large swaths of the population. The ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, for instance, sets guidelines for acceptable state regulations on abortion. Evenwel v. Abbott clarifies how states may draw legislative districts, thus…

Still A Conservative Court

It’s a new day for the Supreme Court. We are in uncharted territory with this current Supreme Court vacancy with no end in sight.  In some respect this has led to a liberal shift in the Court’s general demeanor – especially since this is the first time in decades that conservative Justices have not held a majority…

SCOTUS Briefs: Opinions’ Basic Building Blocks

A Supreme Court opinion is a mixture of law, fact, and interpretation.  By the time cases reach the Supreme Court, they amass a detailed record from the lower court(s) (except for the very few instances of original actions) and a large number of appellate filings.  The case with the most amicus briefs on the merits…