By the numbers: Update on OT11 and the first Stat Pack
This is another post in an ongoing series analyzing statistical trends at the Court. For a more complete look at the statistics that we collect on the Court, you can find all of our up-to-date charts and graphs here.
With the Term approaching the half-way point, we have taken another look at how the Court and the bar are moving through the cases that have been granted, argued, and decided during October Term 2011. The Court has docketed 69 cases for oral argument, heard argument in 36 of those, and released 4 summary reversals.
The Court’s workload: With 69 cases scheduled for oral argument, the Court is set to comfortably fill its typical oral argument schedule. In past years, the Court has decided 70-75 cases with a signed, merits opinion. The Court is expected to grant a handful of cases during the January sitting, some of which may be argued during the April sitting. Extended oral arguments in the health care cases could mean that the Court will hear a slightly lower number of cases during the March sitting than it does in most years.
The total number of hours of oral argument scheduled also signals that the Court is on its normal pace. The Court has currently scheduled 73.5 hours of oral argument; it typically schedules 75-80 total hours for a full Term. During OT08, OT09, and OT10, the Court heard 79, 77, and 78 hours of oral argument, respectively.
Circuit scorecard: Going into the Term, cases originating in the Ninth Circuit comprised a remarkable 42% of the Court’s docket. That percentage has been tempered slightly, but remains historically high; the Ninth Circuit now contributes only 33% of the merits docket, with 24 cases slated for review. The circuit with the next highest contribution to the docket is the Third Circuit, which has five cases up for review during OT11.
Opinions: The Court has released four summary reversals and two signed opinions in argued cases for a total of six merits opinions. That pace is consistent with recent years, and we expect the Court to begin releasing opinions at a quicker rate in January and February.
In recent years, we have seen around ten merits opinions released during the January and February sittings, and we are likely to see around the same number this year.
Advocates: The Court has now held oral arguments in 36 cases, roughly half the cases it will hear over the Term. During those arguments, the Court has heard from 75 different advocates on 93 occasions. Of the 93 appearances before the Court, 58 were made by lawyers based in the Washington, DC area, including 29 from lawyers in the Office of the Solicitor General. Of the 93 total appearances, 34 were made by advocates arguing two or more times. Solicitor General Donald Verilli has argued before the Court three times, once during each of the first three sittings of OT11.
Among lawyers in private practice, Latham & Watkins partner Gregory Garre leads the pack with three appearances before the Court. Supreme Court regulars Paul Clement, David Frederick, and Carter Phillips have each argued twice. Scott Nelson of the Public Citizen Litigation Group has also appeared twice, as has John Bursch, the Solicitor General of Michigan.
Experienced Supreme Court litigators will continue to appear in a high number of cases throughout the Term. For instance, Bancroft PLLC’s Paul Clement is expected to argue in three of the most high-profile cases of the year, Perez v. Potter, Arizona v. United States, and Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp.
Stat Pack: We have also compiled our first Stat Pack of the term. You can find it here.
This edition features the following pages:
- Opinions by Sitting
- Circuit Scorecard
- Cases by Vote Split
- Opinions Authored
- Pace of Grants
- Pace of Opinions
You can also find all of our regularly updated statistics by clicking on the “Statistics” button on the top bar or by clicking here.
Recommended Citation: Kedar Bhatia, By the numbers: Update on OT11 and the first Stat Pack, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 13, 2011, 3:00 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/12/by-the-numbers-update-on-ot11-and-the-first-stat-pack/