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The Return of StatPack: Circuit Scorecard and Opinion Authors

With the February sitting concluded, the blog now revives its tradition of providing statistics on the Court’s docket and decisions. (All statistics compilations since OT95 can be found on SCOTUSWiki here.) This month’s mini “StatPack” includes the Opinion Authors by Sitting chart and the Circuit Scorecard and is available for download here. (Updated: The original document erroneously listed Justice Stevens as the author of Pleasant Grove v. Summum.  Justice Alito authored the opinion, meaning that only Justice Scalia has not written a November opinion.)

30 cases have been decided of the 79 consolidated cases scheduled for argument. The next StatPack will compare this term’s docket to OT07, but one immediate standout from the Circuit Scorecard is the continued presence of the 9th Circuit, taking up 20.3% of the docket with 16 cases; last year, 10 of 71 cases, or 14%, came from the 9th Circuit.

Also notable is that all of the October sitting arguments have been decided except for Arizona v. Gant (07-542),  on the scope of the Fourth Amendment in car searches. All of the Justices have written at least one opinion from October, with the Chief Justice and Justices Souter and Ginsburg writing two each. The only outstanding cases from the November sitting are FCC v. Fox Television Stations (07-582), on “fleeting expletives,” and Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (07-591), on a defendant’s right to cross-examine forensic analysis. Justice Scalia has not yet written an opinion from the November sitting; Justices Stevens, Thomas, and Breyer have each written two from November.

The next StatPack will include a Justice Agreement chart and a cert grant trend chart. Please e-mail kmoore [at] akingump [dot] com with comments on what other analysis would be helpful.