We are happy to present the next edition of our October Term 2013 Stat Pack. As the Court approaches the last oral arguments of the Term and ramps up opinion production, several key trends are beginning to reveal themselves. You can view the Stat Pack in its entirety here.
Below you can also view each portion of the Stat Pack individually and review our takeaways from this version of the Stat Pack.
Opinion Distribution: As the Justices begin to release more of their divided opinions from the October, November, and December sittings, we can begin to predict which Justices will author the remaining opinions. Justice Anthony Kennedy is likely to author the majority opinion in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action because that is the only case remaining from the October sitting and he is the only Justice who has not yet authored an opinion from that sitting. From the November sitting, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Kennedy are likely to split the decisions in Bond v. United States and Town of Greece v. Galloway. There are still four cases remaining from the December sitting, so it is still too difficult to say which Justices will wrote those outstanding opinions. See Stat Pack, page 2.
Circuit Scorecard: The big news from the March sitting is that the Sixth Circuit was finally affirmed by the Supreme Court and it was done in style in a 9-0 opinion in Lexmark International v. Static Control Components. Since OT08, the Sixth Circuit has won only two cases out of twenty-nine in the Supreme Court. The Cincinnati-based court of appeals will have many more chances to redeem itself: there are six cases from the Sixth Circuit still undecided this Term. See Stat Pack, page 3.
Opinion Authorship: Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito lead their colleagues with the highest number of opinions released for the Term with nine total opinions each. Justice Scalia has released five majority opinions and four concurring opinions, while Justice Alito has released four majority opinions, four concurring opinions, and one dissenting opinion. By comparison, Justice Kagan has been relatively quiet: she has written only two opinions, both majority opinions. See Stat Pack, page 8.
Frequency in the Majority: Justice Scalia continues to be the only Justice who has been in the majority for every case released so far during OT13. Following close behind is Justice Clarence Thomas, who has dissented only once, and the Chief Justice and Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, who have each dissented only twice. Justice Sotomayor has dissented more frequently than any of her colleagues: five times in thirty-two cases. See Stat Pack, page 10.
Pace of Opinions: The Court is falling slightly behind its recent pace of opinions with only thirty-two merits opinions released through the March sitting. We expect that number to rise quickly as we enter the home stretch of the Term. Since OT03, the Supreme Court has released an average of four opinions during the first week of the April sitting and two each during the second and third weeks of the sitting. See Stat Pack, pages 16, 18.