Wednesday, May 09, 2018


Not much going on in the District right now.  Seems pretty quiet.  Last week was the 11th Circuit conference, and Clarence Thomas gave the keynote address.

This Bloomberg article discusses how Justice's personalities come through in Opinions Related to Orders (ORTOs):
The U.S. Supreme Court’s “opinions related to orders” get less attention than their merits opinions, but they give courtwatchers clues about the justices who write them.

Merits opinions set a binding rule for the entire country to follow. Opinions related to orders—ORTOs—are often the thoughts of one justice on a case the court has decided not to take up.

The justices vary quite a bit in how often they write opinions related to orders, Bloomberg Law analysis shows. Since October 2011, Justice Sonia Sotomayor has written 31 opinions related to orders. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has written none.

“I think it isn’t surprising that there’s some variation between the Justices,” Daniel Epps, a former clerk for Kennedy, told Bloomberg Law. “But I think it is a bit surprising just how much variance there is.”
Interestingly, although Thomas doesn't speak at oral arguments, he comes in second with 24 ORTOs. 


Anonymous said...

Justice Thomas was very entertaining and informative. He said other Justices need to stop asking so many questions and let the lawyers present their cases. On the other hand, he said in all his years on the Court oral argument has never caused him to change the position he had from reviewing the briefs.

Anonymous said...

I've never understood the value of appellate oral argument. Who honestly thinks that 10 or 15 or even 30 minutes of lip smacking is going to sway the matter after all of the time, effort, law, and information that goes into an appellate brief? Do you think the judges don't read the material? And if not, is 15 minutes enough to actually educate them on it? Or do you just believe that you're that one in a million silver tongued devil that will get it done anyway?

Anonymous said...

As someone who has done many oral arguments, I find that they make a difference in about 70% of the arguments. Nothing silver-tongued about it. When you have bright judges who genuinely want to come to the correct result discussing the case with an attorney who has studied the cases and their application to a specific set of facts and who know the record well, oral argument can be very important.

Anonymous said...

This would be good policy, if the SDFL would only have leadership that followed it.