SCOTUSblog again crunches the numbers on cert-stage amicus influence

SCOTUSblog again crunches the numbers on cert-stage amicus influence

By Avi Kramer, Communications Dept.

Here are two sentences from a 2008 article on Slate:

Each year, parties that have lost in the lower courts file about 9,000 petitions for a writ of certiorari (cert for short) in which they beg the [U.S. Supreme] Court to hear them. The Supreme Court has nearly complete discretion over which cases it will take.

At that stage — when the Court is considering which petitions to accept — governments, individuals and private groups can file cert-stage amicus briefs in support of certain cases.

Five years ago, the author of that Slate piece, Adam Chandler, was looking at which private groups had the best luck influencing the high court’s decisions to hear cases. In 2008, the leader was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

This month, Chandler repeated his research, and last week wrote about it at SCOTUSblog. Has anything changed? Not much. The leading influencer is still the Chamber, which filed the most cert briefs (52) in the three-year period Chandler looked at; and, for groups filing more than ten briefs, the Chamber has had the greatest success rate (32 percent) of getting cases heard.

The Chamber is not by any means the only conservative, pro-business group in the mix — in fact, most are. Chandler writes,

My data indicate that, as the Court shapes its docket, it hears conservative voices far more often than liberal ones, and the disparity is growing.

For the full list, visit SCOTUSblog.

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