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Shrinking High Court Docket Bedevils Conservatives

Publication Date: 
December 16, 2013
USA Today
Richard Wolf

Professor Michael McConnell spoke with USA Today's Richard Wolf about the Court's shrinking docket and why certain cases that have disappeared are good news for those who worry about the long-term impact decisions on the cases could have if they were decided by the current composition of the court. 

The Supreme Court's docket is shrinking, and with it an opportunity for conservatives to make gains in several policy arenas, from abortion and age discrimination to low-income housing and labor relations.

All four of those issues have disappeared from the justices' schedule in recent weeks before they could be decided on their merits. Each time, given the court's conservative tilt, liberals heaved a sigh of relief.


It's not clear how much influence liberals on the court or off had in getting the various cases dismissed. Michael McConnell, a conservative and former federal appeals court judge heading the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, says it would come as no surprise.

"There's not much mystery that there are parties who are trying to avoid having significant cases with a long-term impact decided by the current composition of the court," McConnell says.