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; [...]

Oral Argument Jokes of the Day

In Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee: CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will hear argument next in Case 07-1125, Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee. Mr. Rothfeld. MR. ROTHFELD: Thank you. If it please the Court: The court of appeals in this case — excuse me, Your Honor. JUSTICE GINSBURG: Could you raise the podium? MR. ROTHFELD: Actually, [...]

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 [...]

The Supreme Court yesterday heard arguments in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, a case revolving around Navy sonar exercises off the coast of California and their potential impact on the environment. Justices on both sides of the normal ideological division seemed unpersuaded by the NRDC. Justice Breyer at one time asked, I will express [...]



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