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SCOTUSblog 4.0 and statistics

The fourth version of SCOTUSblog radically changes the way to create and display statistics. The most obvious change is that the wonderful new magazine format features a box devoted to statistics at the bottom of the page. Our goal for that box is to provide the most sought-after data that casual citizens, practitioners, and academics can all appreciate and, across the board, we have tried to make our statistics more robust, more timely, and easier to understand. Here are a few ways you can take full advantage of our new statistics.

The first panel, the summary, is simply a snapshot of the Term and neatly displays the current state of the Court’s docket. As you can see from that pane, the Court has granted sixty-six cases and has released two merit opinions during the current Term.

The second and third panels show the pace at which the Court grants petitions for certiorari and releases opinions, respectively. These charts are a simple way to visualize the current status of the Court’s Term. For example, the “Pace of Grants” chart shows that the Court has already accepted more than half the cases that it will grant for OT10 and that it will fill the docket by the end of January. The “Pace of Opinions” chart shows that the Court has not yet released any merits opinions and probably will not begin to do so regularly until mid-December or January. For the sake of simplicity, we have chosen to highlight only the five most recent Terms on each chart.

As the Term progresses and the Court finalizes its oral argument docket, we will be expanding the type of information in the stat box. For example, we will highlight the number of cases that the Court has taken from different fields of law, such as those coming on First Amendment, criminal, or procedural issues. We’ll also be updating the fourth pane – “Justice Agreement” – to reflect agreement during the current Term. Right now some charts are from October Term 2009 instead of the current term, October Term 2010, but as the current Term progresses, we’ll remove any mention of OT09 and focus our statistics exclusively on OT10. Typically the presence of an older chart simply means new data is not available but any time we use a past term’s data, we will make that as clear as possible to avoid any confusion.

To make our statistics more robust, we have expanded the focus of our data gathering. In particular, we have taken advantage of the stat packs that Tom has been creating for the past fifteen years to create some fascinating cross-term statistics. We included several cross-term charts in the final stat pack last year and we will be expanding our use of cross-term statistics throughout the term.

We hope that you will be able to use the stat box to quickly access the information that changes most frequently. The stat box is updated on opinion and order days, typically around thirty minutes after opinions and orders are released. For those of you who have enjoyed our stat packs in the past: don’t fret. We will still be publishing our interim stat packs later in the Term and our final stat pack in their familiar formats.

Recommended Citation: Kedar Bhatia, SCOTUSblog 4.0 and statistics, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 24, 2010, 2:00 PM),