Justice Gorsuch writing separately: Page length more than opinion numbers (so far)

Posted Fri, June 1st, 2018 10:55 am by Andrew Hamm

In a post at PrawfsBlawg, Dan Epps (who associates with this blog via the podcast he co-hosts, Very first Mondays) indicates that “Justice [Neil] Gorsuch’s obvious proclivity for writing individually would seem most likely to be part of the story” for why, as “of a pair weeks back, the Court was environment documents for the slow rate of opinions.” A similar recommendation arrives from Joan Biskupic for CNN, who, writing in February and seeking broadly at all of Gorsuch’s statements again to final time period, suggested that Gorsuch’s “provocative writings could be spurring the other justices to choose additional time to reply.”

A fast appear at Gorsuch’s separate opinions in argued conditions this time period gives a preliminary way to check this hypothesis. A tiny more than halfway via the term’s selections – 29 of 63 argued conditions continue to be pending – it would seem, at minimum so far, that Gorsuch does not in fact generate individually additional normally than other justices. When he does generate, even so, he fills out additional internet pages.

These are the rankings of the justices by variety of authored concurrences and dissents. Gorsuch seems proper in the center of the justices.

Number of concurrences + dissents
Thomas: 10
Sotomayor: 7
Ginsburg: 6
Breyer/Alito/Gorsuch: 5
Roberts: 3
Kennedy: 1

Gorsuch does stand out for the size of his five separate opinions. These five opinions are, with web page lengths in parentheses, his concurrences in Sessions v. Dimaya (19) and Jesner v. Arab Financial institution (14) and his dissents in Wilson v. Sellers (14), Artis v. District of Columbia (18) and Oil States Strength Providers v. Greene’s Strength Team (12).

Ordinary web page size of concurrences + dissents
Gorsuch: 15.4
Roberts: 11.33
Sotomayor: 10.43
Breyer: 9.8 (not like his appendices in Patchak v. Zinke and Jennings v. Rodriguez)
Thomas: 9.4
Alito: 8.8
Ginsburg: 8.5
Kennedy: 2
Kagan: n/a

Gorsuch’s prolonged impression writing is most pronounced for his concurrences. The common web page size of his concurrences is more than three occasions that of the following justice. The longest concurrences written by other justices – Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence in Jennings v. Rodriguez (13) and Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s concurrence in Ayestas v. Davis (11) – both equally arrive in below Gorsuch’s two concurrences.

In contrast, the common web page size of Gorsuch’s dissents is at the lower conclude of justices who have written a dissent this time period.

Ordinary web page size of concurrences
Gorsuch: 16.5
Thomas: 5.14
Sotomayor: 4.8
Alito: 4
Breyer: 3.3 (like his impression concurring in part and dissenting in part in Murphy v. NCAA)
Roberts: 3
Ginsburg: 2.5
Kennedy: 2
Breyer: 1.5 (not like NCAA)
Kagan: n/a

Ordinary web page size of dissents
Sotomayor: 24.5
Breyer: 21.5 (not like NCAA)
Thomas: 19.33
Roberts: 15.5
Breyer: 15.33 (like NCAA)
Gorsuch: 14.67
Alito: 12
Ginsburg: 11.5
Kennedy: n/a
Kagan: n/a

In his concurrences in Dimaya and Jesner, Gorsuch was not shy about laying out his eyesight of the regulation. Kevin Johnson writes for this blog that in Dimaya, in which the court dominated that the catchall segment of the immigration law’s criminal-removing provision is unconstitutionally obscure, Gorsuch “defended the originalist foundations for vagueness challenges” and “would have absent even further” than the plurality impression, suggesting that “provisions of civil legal guidelines really should be scrutinized intently for vagueness even outside the house the deportation context.”

Amy Howe writes for Howe on the Court, also published on this blog, that in Jesner, which held that overseas organizations are not able to be sued for human-rights violations below the Alien Tort Statute, Gorsuch “would have absent even additional than his colleagues and dominated that 1 overseas national are not able to sue a further below the ATS.”

Of the seven conditions that have taken the justices the longest to make your mind up this yr, Gorsuch wrote in 6 of them — two majority opinions (Epic Programs Corp. v. Lewis and SAS Institute Inc. v. Lee), his two concurrences and two of his dissents (Wilson and Oil States). No other justice wrote in this a lot of of the seven slowest selections. Thomas wrote in five, Justice Stephen Breyer in 4, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in three, Justice Samuel Alito in two and the many others in 1 apiece.

At minimum so far in the time period, Gorsuch’s separate opinions in argued conditions are not additional recurrent than those people of his colleagues, but, at minimum with respect to his concurrences, they are appreciably longer. In accordance to Epps, a extended concurrence that dives deep into lawful background could make additional operate for the relaxation of the justices than various small opinions, lending some assist to the plan that Gorsuch’s separate writings slows down the court. Of system, 29 selections more than the following 4 weeks could change this portrait. And, as Epps notes on PrawfsBlawg, we might will need entry to the justices’ papers for “a comprehensive explanation” of this term’s rate of opinions.

Posted in Highlighted, Deserves Situations

Encouraged Quotation:
Andrew Hamm,
Justice Gorsuch writing individually: Site size additional than impression numbers (so far),
SCOTUSblog (Jun. 1, 2018, 10:55 AM),
http://www.scotusblog.com/2018/06/justice-gorsuch-writing-individually-web page-size-additional-than-impression-numbers-so-far/

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