A New Era in SCOTUS Textualism

Legal interpretation begins with a legal text. At least in theory it does.  While in practice this is not always the case, textualism has become synonymous with conservatism in recent Court eras primarily due to Justice Scalia’s reliance on the language of statutory texts.  In practice, a textualist approach is not limited by judicial ideology and…

Something to Talk About

Oral arguments have always been central to Supreme Court adjudication.  In early Supreme Court practice oral arguments were the primary means by which the justices learned about cases.  Currently, oral arguments convey less original information to the justices, but still are helpful tools for the justices to learn about dimensions in each case not brought out…

The Justices in Oral Arguments 2016

Supreme Court oral arguments are the only times that litigators directly and verbally interact with the Justices about pending cases.  The scholarship on whether these arguments factor into decision outcomes is mixed with some suggesting that the Justices come into oral arguments with predefined views in most cases while others suggesting that a variety of…

Below the Surface of the Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings

Justice Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court after a relatively quick and seamless confirmation process.  Much went into this process, however, and even though these hearings have become more or less a formality, they are a process that involves much preparation and an extensive time commitment.  Justice Gorsuch’s answers to questions were prototypical of…