When Chief Justice Roberts first sat on the Court on October 3, 2005 in IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez, he spoke twenty-four times and his first question appeared on page 15 of the transcript. Following that question, he went back and forth with Carter Phillips, a man with whom the Chief Justice was already acquainted, for [...]

The Supreme Court has long been criticized for poorly patrolling its lower courts for circuit splits. At least recently, the Supreme Court has issued relatively few summary judgements and summary reversals to clarify its recent decisions before they grow out of hand. The Court today did just that when they summarily reversed a decision of [...]

The Court ruled this morning in Chambers v. US. (opinion) that failure to report for weekend confinement falls outside the scope of ‘violent felony’ as defined by the Armed Career Criminals Act (ACCA) [18 U.S.C §924(e)]. The ACCA requires a minimum 15-year sentence for individuals convicted of “three previous convictions . . . for a [...]

(Nearly) every majority opinion features a short introduction before it jumps into the standard I, II, III, IV, etc structure. Some Justices simply introduce the facts very briefly (Scalia), while others discuss the procedural history (Thomas), and others discuss the underlying issue in the case (Souter.) I took a look at all of the cases [...]

The use footnotes has been a topic of quiet conversation around the judiciary for some time now. One group of Judges and practitioners (and an even larger percentage of students) find them to be burdensome and often unnecessary. Others think they serve as useful guides and make opinions more readable. Footnotes largely come in two [...]

The Supreme Court handed down an opinion today in Altria Group v. Good (opinion here) which will likely open the door for state-level suits against false advertising by cigarette companies. Justice Stevens penned the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion that was joined [...]

Once again, I’ve conjured up some charts marking how often each Justice spoke during oral arguments in the first half of the term. You can find a detailed look into my methodology here but to summarize, these numbers represent the number of times ‘JUSTICE ______’ is mentioned in the oral argument transcripts posted on the [...]

The future is bleak for democrats and judicial liberals. The average age of the four conservatives is 60.75 years (Roberts(53), Scalia (72), Thomas(60), Alito(58)). The average age of the four liberals, however, is 75.7 years (Stevens(88), Souter(69), Ginsburg(75), Breyer(70)). Justice Stevens, an active octogenarian and avid tennis player who frequently reads briefs on the beach [...]

2008 Term Index

You can find the 2007 Term Case Index here. You can find the 2006 Term Case Index here. You can find statistics from the term here. Cases Completed: (83) Ricci v. DeStefano Docket Filing | Questions Presented Docket Number: 07-1428 On Appeal From: CA2 Date Argued: April 22, 2009 Date Decided: June 29, 2009 5-4; [...]

The Supreme Court this week handed down a decision in Winters v. National Resources Defense Council, a case revolving around the Navy’s use of sonar and its impact on the environment. The Court ruled 7-2 that the Navy was justified in the use of a particular form of sonar and that the impact on the [...]



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