January 7, 2007

The Supreme Court is deciding so few cases these days...

... that we're doomed to read endless articles like this one about how the Supreme Court is deciding so few cases these days.


Unknown said...

But they still want a raise.

Simon said...

Post facto - per Our Hero:

Scalia said that when he joined the court, it was issuing about 150 opinions per year. “The last few years we’ve been issuing about 75. Now, we can do more than 75. I think we can do 100 well. We can’t do 150 well, trust me,” he said. “We have enough time to do them right and I think our opinions are much better.” ... He also said lack of new laws that beg for judicial interpretation are a key factor. “There has not been any major legislation in recent years and I think that’s the principal reason why our load has gone down,” he said.

There are a couple of other reasons (Justice Souter thinks its a factor of the kind of cases being litigated not raising questions that reach SCOTUS; Jeff Goldstein thinks its a decline in circuit splits, and so forth), but whatever the cause, it seems to me that the threshold task for any article criticizing the shrinking docket is to identify why we care, which is to say, you'd better do your research: you'd better come with a list of certworthy cases that the Court has turned away (and there are a few out there) to be taken seriously.