Cert Analytics

The Supreme Court currently grants around eighty cases per year for its merits review.  These cases tackle issues that often divide federal courts.  The Court takes up some cases due to the national importance of resolving certain issues.  With some of these cases that deal with issues that divide segments of the populations like abortion…

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…

SCOTUS Scorecard Pt. 2: The Firm Side of the Story

The top Supreme Court litigators from this past Term were composed of a group of well-known names within circles that track cases moving through the Court.  Examining these attorneys, however, only conveys part of the story of the actors involved in this litigation.  From the perspective of the client representation there is a structure that goes…

SCOTUS Scorecard 2015/2016 Pt. 1: Experience is Key

Now that the 2015 Supreme Court is complete, it is a perfect time to inspect the case outcomes.  My previous post examined the winning attorneys from each oral argument.  Many of the attorneys involved are from a small division of firms and groups focused on Supreme Court practice (or from larger firms  with specialized appellate practices) and are…

Oral Argument Winners 2015/2016

Image by:  Carlos Barria/Reuters This week marks the end of the 2015 Supreme Court Term.  There are a ton of data to sort through to better understand the repercussions of the cases and the actors involved.  One way to analyze the data is simply by looking at the attorneys that were most successful at oral argument…

Quick Note: Foreshadowing 2015 SCOTUS Stats

In a more detailed upcoming post I will take a look at many of the significant statistics from this term at the Supreme Court; especially those to do with the actors involved in the cases.  To provide some early results, in this post I have the non-governmental attorney and firm that were involved in 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…

Will Ghosts of Past Decisions Come Back to Haunt This Term?

Do Supreme Court Justices abide by the Court’s past precedents in cases where such precedents are not overruled? Political Scientists have long debated this question with differing accounts based on ideological theory, strategic theory, and post-behavioralism.  Without getting lost in the weeds of this debate this post takes a look at the Justices’ votes in…

The Road to Zubik, Incoherence, and Indecision

Today the Court avoided ruling on the merits in Zubik v. Burwell, a case pitting religious beliefs against government healthcare mandates, by sending the case back down to the lower courts with a per-curiam opinion.  This was one of the most anticipated rulings of the Term and so this decision is perceived as a letdown for…