The Court’s Decision Making Through January 2021

The addition of three justices in four years under President Donald Trump along with a year of Covid-19 has slowed the Supreme Court’s business. So far this term, we can note that the Court is in the midst of a downturn in terms of the number of opinions it decides by the end of January…

A New Look at Who’s Activist and Restrained on the Court

This country’s founders could not have anticipated the current power of the federal judiciary. Alexander Hamilton wrote to this effect in Federalist Paper #78, “The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take…

How the Court’s Decisions Limit the National Electorate

This post looks at the Supreme Court’s election law jurisprudence under the Roberts Court.  Supreme Court opinions and applications were searched from 2005 through the present for the term “election.” All cases were examined and any that related to elections or voting procedures were maintained in the dataset.  Cases were broken down across several issues…

Amy Coney Barrett’s First Day of Oral Arguments

The Supreme Court is now at full force with nine justices sitting in on oral arguments. Justice Barrett had her first day of arguments yesterday participating in both Salinas v. Railroad Retirement Bd. and United States Fish and Wildlife Serv. v. Sierra Club, Inc. Barrett’s first day of oral arguments was different from that of…

A Comprehensive Look at Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, now Supreme Court nominee, has followed a well-worn path of justices before her.  President Trump nominated her to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on November 2, 2017. She was then nominated to the Supreme Court, just under three years later, on September 26, 2020.  Chief Justice Roberts, nominated by…

Judicial Nominee Whisperer

I’m going to take this opportunity to say that understanding a bit about Trump’s nomination strategy goes a long way to understanding who he will select to the Supreme Court. Applying various methods across three articles I predicted each pick well in advance of the nominations; in fact, in increasing time lengths from the nominations as well.

Justice Ginsburg Leaves a Lasting Legacy on the Court

In news that probably shouldn’t have been shocking given her health but surprised many nonetheless, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away yesterday from complications from pancreatic cancer.  Lots of heartfelt eulogies made their way across the internet in the minutes and hours that followed Justice Ginsburg’s death.  Within hours of the news of Ginsburg’s passing,…

RBG’s Departure Might Look A Lot Like Thurgood Marshall’s

Justice Ginsburg has had quite a few health scares over the past little over a decade. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009 and subsequently resisted pressure to retire from the Court under Obama’s administration.  With multiple hospital stays this year and a recurrence of her pancreatic cancer, many question how long she will…

Clear Polarization in Second Level Supreme Court Decision Making

Over the past five Supreme Court Terms the justices have issued 157 separate opinions from Court orders. These are cases that are not orally argued and do not receive full merits consideration. We do not necessarily know all the justices votes in these cases – only the ones the justices made public through signing onto separate opinions. Of these 157 opinions, only two include at least one conservative and one liberal justice signed onto the same opinion. Both are dissents from Justices Gorsuch and Sotomayor in criminal cases. The other 155 separate opinions split the justices ideologically or are solo authored. The spotlight on the Court’s polarization could not be clearer.

Precedent: Which Justices Practice What They Preach

While Supreme Court Justices are by no means bound by their past decisions, the Court often respects its past decisions for a variety of reasons. The reasons given for adhering the Court’s past precedents are often across between cases. Justice Kagan offered her interpretation for remaining faithful to precedent in dissent in last term’s Knick…