What the Justices Cited in OT 2018

During the 2018 term, the Supreme Court heard 67 oral arguments leading to decisions. The justices’ opinions cited briefs filed in these cases and law articles approximately 601 times. These citations were from a total of approximately 330 briefs and articles.  The citations were primarily clustered in certain cases. For instance, 30 cases or about…

Advocates that Drive the Justices’ Votes

Supreme Court scholars often debate the role of lawyers in Supreme Court decision making.  For an attitudinalist, the justices’ preferences make all (or at least most of) the difference.  According to this theory justices will often vote based on their preferred policy direction, which minimizes the role of advocacy.  More recent studies show that such…

Attorneys and Firms for the 2017 Term

The current term at the Supreme Court has been anything but ordinary.  With two argued cases already ruled moot the justices are down to 61 argued cases for possible signed decisions. This would tie last term for the fewest signed decisions in the modern Court era.  Not only are the cases few and far between,…

To Extend or Not to Extend

Occasionally someone will posit a question about Supreme Court practice to me dealing with an issue I haven’t examined. Recently, I had one such interaction with John Elwood of Vinson & Elkins.  John asked if I had looked at applications for extensions of time to file petitions for writs of certiorari. As I hadn’t looked…

Not All Appeals Are Equal

Every year the lawyer research and ranking company Chambers & Partners (sometimes mentioned as C&P herein) puts out a list of top appellate lawyers and firms (in a previous post I looked at some of the listed firms’ cert performance). Chambers uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative methodology to come up with its various…

A Lot at Stake: Amicus Filers 2017/2018

Whether they know it or not, large sectors of the population have interests in the outcomes of Supreme Court cases.  With cases dealing with issues ranging from voting rights to owner’s rights in retail sales, many people are affected outside of the immediate parties to each case.  These diverse interests along with more specific interests…

SCOTUS Success 2016

Now that the Supreme Court term is over, let the scoring begin.  While this post looks at the most successful firms, litigators, and groups before the Supreme Court during the 2016 term, there are several caveats to note.  First, this post looks at success before the Court as measured by win counts. Second, getting to…

Attorneys and Firms in the Supreme Court 2016

The Supreme Court wrapped up oral arguments for the 2016 term on April 26, 2017 with arguments in Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen and Maslenjak v. United States. These marked the 63rd and 64th arguments the Justices heard this term – down five from the 69 arguments the Justices heard a year prior.  While the Court…

Bringing Cases in an Unusual Term: Top Petitioners and Cert Amici

There are certain criteria that indicate or signal the importance of a Supreme Court petition to the Court –experienced SCOTUS counsel on the cert briefs, federal governmental involvement, and cert stage amicus briefs – just to name a few.  Although there is no surefire way to predict whether the Court will grant cert in a…

The Summer Pipeline

Supreme Court Justices make few official decisions during the summer. Generally, these relate to emergency matter that require quick injunctive responses. For lawyers, however, the situation is quite different (as the saying goes “time and tide wait for no man”).  While the Court does not rule on cases during the summer, cert petitions accumulate just…