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Stat Pack | Updated 6.16.10

The most recently updated Stat Pack is now available here.  It covers decisions in all October Term 2009 cases as of the most recent release of orders and opinions, on Monday, June 14.  The separate charts in it are:

For comparison, see the first (April 28), second (May 24), and third (June 11) editions of the OT09 Stat Pack.  We will include more charts in the subsequent versions of the Stat Pack that we will release later this Term.  For all of the blog’s statistics reports from OT95 onward, please see our archives on SCOTUSwiki here.

Note: Starting with the last edition of the Stat Pack, we changed the classification of two cases –Conkright v. Frommert and Stolt-Nielson S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International – in which only eight Justices voted, from six-three to five-four.  We made this change because we believe that the vote was more likely to have been five-four if all nine Justices had participated.  This is an important note when comparing the last two Stat Packs with the first two.

This month, we expect opinions tomorrow, as well as on the next two Mondays (June 21 and 28).  Beyond that, the Court often issues opinions on Thursdays (and sometimes Wednesdays) during the final weeks of the Term, depending in part on when opinions are ready for release.

Below the jump are key take-aways from the Stat Pack, as well as a few points of comparison with past editions.

  • There are sixty-five (65) decided merits cases and four (4) merits cases that were dismissed.  (We exclude Briscoe v. Virginia (because we do not regard it as having been decided on the merits) and Citizens United (an OT08 case).)  Of the sixty-five (65), fifty-three (53) are in argued cases, two (2) are in cases decided before argument, and ten (10) are summary dispositions.
  • Of the sixty-five (65) decided cases, thirty-two (32) — or forty-nine percent — are unanimous, while only nine (9) are five-four (5-4) splits.  The Court has already surpassed the number of total unanimous opinions it issued during each of the last three Terms (twenty-six (26) in OT08, twenty-one (21) in OT07, and twenty-eight (28) in OT06); this is partly because there are more summary reversals this Term.  Two of the five-four (5-4) splits appeared during the last two weeks, in Berghuis v. Thompkins and Dolan v. United States.
  • Chief Justice Roberts has now dissented twice in argued cases decided on the merits this Term (South Carolina v. North Carolina, and now Dolan).  By contrast, Justice Stevens has dissented fifteen (15) times in such cases, authoring eight (8) of those dissenting opinions.
  • Justice Sotomayor has not participated in five (5) decided cases, while Justice Alito has not participated in one (1); no other Justices have recused themselves this Term from decided cases.
  • There are twenty (20) outstanding argued cases.  The Court has begun to produce opinions from recent sittings: it has already decided eight cases from either the April or March sittings.  It has still not yet decided two from the November sitting (Schwab v. Reilly and Bilski v. Kappos).  Only Justices Stevens and Thomas have yet to author opinions for the Court from that sitting.  It may also be worth noting that now only three Justices — the Chief Justice and Justices Ginsburg and Alito — have not yet authored an opinion from the February sitting.  The outstanding cases from that sitting include Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, Skilling v. United States, and McDonald v. Chicago.
  • The Court has granted twenty-eight (28) cases for OT10, twelve (12) of which originate in the Ninth Circuit.  By this date last Term, the Court had granted thirty-seven (37) cases for OT09.