Interesting Meetings of the Minds of Supreme Court Justices

Unanimity in the Supreme Court used to be the norm. In the early Supreme Court there were few dissents and so there was little opportunity to see differences between the justices’ views outside of how they authored their majority opinions. This practice has changed over the years as now decisions are more frequently divided rather…

Drilling into the Content of the Supreme Court’s May Arguments

The Supreme Court heard some of the most important cases of the term in a month when there almost were no arguments at all.  The Court canceled its March and April sitting due to COVID-19.  With flexible ingenuity, it then rescheduled ten arguments for May, which was the first time the Court had anything near…

Younger vs. Older

Yesterday the Court released a divided decision in Georgia v Public.Resource.Org with Justices Roberts, Kagan, Sotomayor, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh in the majority and Justices Alito, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Breyer in dissent. As several folks pointed out, this was an interesting split of the justices since the majority was composed of the five younger justices on…

SCOTUSBlog Interim Stat Pack April 2020

The Interim Stat Pack is now up on SCOTUSBlog’s website. Here are some key takeaways: The last time the Supreme Court closed its doors to the public due to an epidemic was during the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. Through March of this term, the court has decided fewer cases by signed opinion than it has…

Locating Weak Causal Strands in the Justices’ Opinions

In the introduction to the eye opening work on the Supreme Court certiorari process Deciding to Decide, author H.W. Perry summarizes the Court’s lack of institutional transparency. Perry wrote, “Although some rules are published, most of the internal procedures are by consensus, are unpublished, and are frequently unknown” (p. 17). Perry goes on, “We on…

Things We Haven’t Seen Before at the Outset of a Roberts Court Term

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is traditionally one of the most active justices at the beginning of each term. It should come as no surprise therefore that she authored three of the Court’s first 13 decisions for the 2019 Supreme Court term . She tends to have the backing of the Court in these early term decisions…

Supreme Court Justice T.V. News Coverage

Supreme Court Justices live dual lives. On one hand they predominately manage to stay out of the limelight while actually doing their jobs. Even with pressure to the contrary, the justices have managed to keep cameras out of the Court, and to limit the release of audio recordings of oral arguments to the Fridays after the…

Is Oral Argument Talking Time All It’s Cut Out to Be?

Supreme Court oral arguments are not all what they seem. While at first blush they may appear to be an opportunity for attorneys to make their arguments before the judges, they often become instances for the justices to test out their theories of a given case and to gauge other justices’ positions on given topics….