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Pocket Docket: Supreme Court's New Season

Publication Date: 
September 29, 2009
Source: 
The Wall Street Journal
Author: 
Jess Bravin

Lecturer Thomas Goldstein is quoted in the Wall Street Journal on the Supreme Court's upcoming term:

Questions before the Supreme Court, which begins its new term Monday, include corporate political spending, dog-fighting videos, a cross in the desert -- and whether a more unified conservative bloc emerges.

On the DocketSee some of the notable cases coming up in the 2009-2010 term.. This year, the court itself has had a makeover with the appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The justices reshuffled their swivel chairs to maintain a seating pattern based on seniority.

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"Last year, we had the most divisive Supreme Court term in modern history," says Tom Goldstein, co-chairman of the litigation practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and founder of scotusblog.com, a Web site that follows the Supreme Court.

As recently as the 2005 term, when Justice Samuel Alito succeeded Sandra Day O'Connor at midpoint, the court voted unanimously 52% of the time. According to Mr. Goldstein, just 33% of last term's decisions were unanimous.

A big question among court watchers like Mr. Goldstein: "Is that an anomaly or are we settling into a pattern of a bitterly divided court?"