Breaking News

Final October Term 2010 Stat Pack available

Updated 10:00pm June 28, 2011: The Stat Pack now reflects grants and denials from the June 28 Orders List.

Our Stat Pack features charts, graphs, and tables analyzing October Term 2010. You can download it in its entirety here.

For nearly a decade, Tom and SCOTUSblog have been publishing a memorandum summarizing the Term’s significant statistical trends. The SCOTUSblog Summary Memo for October Term 2010 is also available, and you can download it here.

We are also releasing an abridged version of the data that went into making the Stat Pack. Our hope is that other Court watchers can take advantage of the data and create charts and graphs even better than ours! You can find the data here (.xlsx), and a document explaining the columns here (.pdf).

Key takeaways:

  • For the first time in recent memory, two argument sittings produced a disparity in the assignment of majority opinions: In both November and January, some Justices were assigned to two majority opinions while others did not write any. [Page 2]
  • The Supreme Court ultimately divided 4-4 in only two cases this Term. The Court also divided evenly twice during OT2002 and OT2007. [Page 8]
  • The Court split along traditional ideological lines in an incredible 87% of 5-4 decisions, the highest rate in the last ten years. [Page 11]
  • Justice Thomas has written an unusually high percentage of this Term’s 5-4 opinions, 27% (4). [Page 7]
  • The conservative bloc of the Court has had another relatively successful year. The Chief Justice and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito created the majority in 63% of 5-4 decisions, their highest success and cohesion rate during the Roberts Court. [Page 13]
  • That said, Justice Kennedy still voted with the liberal bloc more than he did at any time in the last ten years of the Rehnquist Court. [Page 14]
  • As you would expect, the Justices asked more questions in cases that would eventually be decided in a 5-4 decision than they did in unanimous or near-unanimous cases. [Page 15]
  • Attorneys from Washington, DC, dominated the Supreme Court bar in OT10. Advocates from Washington argued in 106 out of 196 argument slots (54%); even if advocates from the Office of the Solicitor General are not included, Washington, DC advocates still argued 49 times. California had the second-highest number of arguments, with 17. [Page 16]
  • The highest agreement pair was Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito (96.2% agreement in judgment). The lowest agreement pair was Justices Ginsburg and Alito (62.5%). [Page 21]
  • Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association took a staggering 237 days to be decided. The next-longest period between oral argument and opinion was 188 days in Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders.
  • 93% of paid merits petitions that were eventually granted for oral argument first appeared as a Petition to Watch. [Page 26]

Recommended Citation: Kedar Bhatia, Final October Term 2010 Stat Pack available, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 27, 2011, 5:43 PM),