Early Term Decisions

The Supreme Court released two more decisions today in Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple Inc. and Salman v. United States. Both were unanimous – the Samsung decision written by Justice Sotomayor and Salman by Justice Alito.  This brings the total number of authored decisions so far this Term to four. All were unanimous and the only separate opinion was a concurrence by Justice Thomas in Bravo-Fernandez.

Although few signed decisions are generally released before the beginning of each new year, they are far and away more likely to be unanimous than 5-4.

The figure below is a look at the total number of decisions released by January 1 each Term beginning in 2000.


Next is a comparison of unanimous decision versus 5-4 decisions during this period of each Term.


Finally a look at the number of 5-4 decisions across each entire Term from 2000.


One other interesting point of note: the typical swing Justice, Justice Kennedy, only authored one opinion before January 1 since the 2000 Term.  This was in the case of Ayers v. Belmontes in the 2006 Term which unsurprisingly was a 5-4 decision.

On Twitter: @AdamSFeldman


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