CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"An increase in the Court’s summary docket"

This post by Kevin Russell at ScotusBlog is especially interesting given how often the Court uses summary reversals in criminal cases--8 of the 9 summary reversals so far this term. In part:

There is much speculation whether this trend will continue and whether it is part of a conscious effort by the Court.  Summary reversals tend to be directed at correcting an error in a particular case, rather than resolving circuit conflicts or establishing general principles of law, which is what the Supreme Court spends the vast majority of its time doing in its typical argued cases.  As a consequence, an increase in summary reversals has the effect of sending a signal to the lower courts that they  cannot count on getting by with sloppy (or ideological) decision making simply because the opinion does not implicate a circuit split, at least in criminal cases.

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