In a year when the U.S. Supreme Court heard six(!) cases where Washington Legal Foundation supported grants of certiorari with amicus curiae briefs (leading all non-profit groups “by quite a large margin,” according to EmpiricalSCOTUS.com), it seems a bit churlish to pick on the Court for rejecting a number of important cases. Then again, the entire point of this feature is to identify such oversights. Even though the Court granted some 43 percent of the cases in which WLF supported cert, it still overlooked a host of worthwhile appeals, once again taking on an exceedingly light docket.
One thing stands out in this fourth annual retrospective look at last term’s disappointeds docket: namely, how many so-called business cases the Court granted. Although many commentators have called this a “boring” term, court watchers who value clarity and certainty couldn’t help but appreciate the Court’s resolving multiple controversies that, while minor in the grand scheme of things, have nonetheless vexed litigants and divided lower courts. Perhaps because the Court was down a justice and evenly divided for over a year, it took the opportunity to grant cert to cases on lower-profile subjects that might get passed over when meatier fare is desired. If it did so in a quest for consensus, the happy results are the silver lining of the Court’s unusually long interregnum. Continue reading “The Supreme Court’s NOT Top 10: October Term 2016 Cert Petitions the Justices Should Have Granted”