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Monday round-up

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house, few spoke of the Court any more than a mouse. 

But in the New York Times, Adam Liptak reports on a study conducted for the Times by Judge Richard Posner and two academic colleagues with an interest in the quantitative analysis of the judiciary; the study found that “[t]he Roberts court, which has completed five terms, ruled for business interests 61 percent of the time, compared with 46 percent in the last five years of the court led by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who died in 2005, and 42 percent by all courts since 1953.”  At the Volokh Conspiracy, Orin Kerr picks up on Liptak’s discussion of the role of the specialized Supreme Court bar in the Court’s business cases and speculates “that the rise of the dedicated Supreme Court bar is largely a delayed response to the increase in the number of clerks per Justice.” 

In the Boston Globe, Jonathan Saltzman looks at a new study which finds that “[s]ince the US Supreme Court struck down mandatory sentencing guidelines five years ago in a landmark ruling, the difference in the average sentences of the most lenient and most severe federal judges in Boston has widened.”

At Forbes’s Full Disclosure blog, Daniel Fisher discusses the three major class-action cases of the Term: Smith v. Bayer Corp., Wal-Mart v. Dukes, and AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion.  Fisher suggests that “the typical 5-4 split between conservative and liberal justices may not rule the day” because “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a former civil procedure professor, is a class-action skeptic who has previously voted to rein in cases on behalf of asbestos claimants and insurance customers.”


  • The editorial board of the New York Times discusses Justice Antonin Scalia’s scheduled appearance at a Tea Party constitutional seminar next month and urges the Justice to “send his regrets.”
  • In the Washington Post, Robert Barnes discusses the Justices’ dissents from denials of certiorari in cases involving the death penalty.
  • John Schwartz of the New York Times speaks with several law professors about the likely fate of the health care law before Court; he emphasizes the difficulty of predicting the Justices’ votes.

Recommended Citation: James Bickford, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 20, 2010, 9:57 AM),