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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tidbits from the U.S. high court

I have spent the last 2.5 days at Minnesota CLE's Criminal Law Institute, picking up a bevvy of CLE credits and seeing what's new in the criminal law area. From this morning's lecture on the U.S. Supreme Court, here are just a few interesting tidbits:

-- The high court decided 68 cases this term -- the lowest output since 1953;
-- Justice Anthony Kennedy was the swing vote in every one of the more than 20 opinions decided by a 5-4 margin;
-- some lawyers have, as a result, begun tailoring their Supreme Court arguments specifically to court Justice Kennedy;
-- the high court has shown a strong proclivity toward taking business cases (40 percent of the docket) and toward deciding in favor of the business in most of those cases; and
-- a woman who mailed poisoned home-baked cookies to all the justices in 2005 was sentenced to 15 years in prison last year.

The last point gave me some pause as I munched absent-mindedly on one of those free bagels they set out for you at CLE programs ...


Who Am Us Anyway said...

Well, it decided 68 cases after oral argument, but (counting the 4 cases it decided without oral argument) it actually decided a total of 72 cases. But that's still a recent low.

Mark Cohen, editor said...

Thanks for the clarification on the nonoral cases (and, so that it's no reflection on the CLE, I will add that the same point was made there.)