Re: Supreme Court Bingo

by Ed Whelan

A follow-up to Jordan Lorence’s post:

As of now, Justice Scalia has written eight majority opinions; Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Alito have written seven majority (or, in one case for Alito, lead plurality) opinions; and the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas, Sotomayor, and Kagan have written six apiece. With this current count in mind, I’ll venture these guesses about the remaining opinions:

1. Justice Kagan will write the majority opinion in the Stolen Valor Act case. Yes, as Jordan points out, Justice Kennedy also hasn’t written a majority opinion from the February sitting. But he had two cases in October, November, and January, so he probably earned a break.

2. Justice Kennedy will write the majority opinion in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs (on whether life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders violate the Eighth Amendment). Whichever way Kennedy goes will likely decide the majority, and he’s written extensively (for better or worse) on the Eighth Amendment. I haven’t followed these cases closely, but if (as appears to be the case) they can be handled together in a single opinion, that would take Kennedy’s total only to eight.

3. The Chief Justice will write the lead opinion on the Obamacare individual mandate, and he will also write the majority opinion in the Arizona immigration case.

I wouldn’t recommend that you bet heavily on any of these guesses.

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