Medellin (docket, questions presented, oral arguments, petitioner’s brief) is without a doubt one of the most anticipated opinions of the year.

Medellin was argued on October 10, 2007, making it one of the oldest cases still being decided. As of today, it has been nearly 160 days since Medellin‘s oral arguments and last year, the average time between oral argument and release date was only 93 days.

The art (science) of predicting case authors is ambiguous at best. The rule of thumb is that Justices usually will not author two opinions in a month until all Justices have authored at least one. Thanks to SCOTUSblog, you can see a breakdown of last year’s opinions here. You can see that the Justices did a very good job of distributing majority opinions evenly. The only reason I could imagine for a Justice to pen zero while another does two would be if one Justice dissented in every case during a single sitting (or if the Justices just decided that they didn’t need to distribute majority opinions equally.)

Since there were only 9 cases argued in October, we can assume that each Justice will author only one majority opinion. Here are the cases argued during the October sitting and their current statuses:

Case Status Author
Washington Decided Thomas
Tom F. Per Curiam -
Gall Decided Stevens
Kimbrough Decided Ginsburg
Torres Decided Scalia
Santos Undecided -
Watson Decided Souter
Stoneridge Decided Kennedy
Medellin Undecided -

That leaves the Chief Justice and Justices Breyer and Alito. Its hard to say which of those three will author the opinion but if you have an idea how the Court will decide you could narrow it down further. This case is particularly hard to predict because the majority opinion could very well be written by more than one Justice, like in McConnell v. FEC, where three opinions featured at least five Justices. There will no doubt be one or more concurring opinions in which Justices seek to clarify their positions and add dicta to the line of precedence that this case is sure to influence.


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