SCOTUSblog’s Kedar Bhatia released his annual Stat Pack for the October Term 2016 (OT16) last week – an invaluable resource for the Supreme Court community.  You can access the Stat Pack in full, here.  Here are my top takeaways:

Total Merits Opinions Released:

  • 69 (the lowest number since OT07 – also 69)
  • The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit was affirmed in 100% of cases this term (1/1). The Third, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits were reversed in 100% of cases (0/2, 0/2, and 0/3, respectively).
  • 59% of cases were decided unanimously (9-0 or 8-0 votes) — the highest number since OT13. Just 10% were decided by a 5-4 vote.

Make-Up of the Merits Docket:

  • 68% civil cases; 17% criminal cases; 14% habeas cases.
  • 86% were paid cases (booklet format); 14% were IFP cases.
  • 75% were federal cases; 25% were state cases.


  • Justice Thomas authored the most total opinions this term (31); Justice Gorsuch authored the fewest (5). Fewer total opinions were authored this year than at any other time in the last ten years.

Frequency in the Majority:

  • Justice Kennedy was in the majority in 97% of all cases — only twice in the last ten terms has Justice Kennedy not had the highest frequency in the majority. Justices Thomas and Gorsuch found themselves in the majority the least at 82% of all cases.

Justice Agreement:

  • Justices Thomas and Gorsuch agreed in 100% of cases this term; Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch agreed in just 58.8% of cases.

Oral Advocates

  • 21% of oral advocates were female; 48% currently work in or have worked in the Office of the United States Solicitor General.



For further information, see Kedar Bhatia, Final Stat Pack for October Term 2016 and key takeaways, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 28, 2017, 5:04 PM),