With Kagan’s nomination set, and all oral arguments for the October 2009 Term completed, we are still waiting for some major decisions — specifically, McDonald v. Chicago, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, Free Enterprise v. PCAOB, Bilski v. Kappos, and Doe v. Reed. In this post, we will offer predictions for these huge cases. Additionally, our statistics might also give us an insight into what is causing the delay within the SCOTUS on handing down these opinions.
The chart contains the outcome of the predictions, the confidence interval for the outcome, and the SMRs for each justice, along with the SMR’s confidence interval.
|Outcome||Reverse 70%||Affirm 55%||Affirm 67%||Affirm 78%||Affirm 67%|
|Outcome CI||+/-7.7 (99%)||NS||+/-11.37 (99%)||+/-8.42 (99%)||+/-16.76 (99%)|
|Roberts||1.22 (0.17)||1.16 (0.3)||1.12 (0.24)||1.09 (0.18)||1.17 (0.36)|
|Stevens||1.00 (0.24)||1.24 (0.34)||1.84 (0.44)||3.49 (0.62)||1.76 (0.63)|
|Scalia||1.23 (0.17)||0.96 (0.27)||0.92 (0.22)||1.02 (0.18)||1.09 (0.35)|
|Thomas||1.21 (0.17)||0.96 (0.27)||0.87 (0.21)||0.94 (0.17)||0.89 (0.31)|
|Ginsburg||0.75 (0.2)||1.24 (0.34)||1.81 (0.43)||3.2 (0.59)||1.59 (0.6)|
|Breyer||0.87 (0.22)||1.37 (0.36)||1.92 (0.45)||3.54 (0.62)||1.59 (0.6)|
|Alito||1.17 (0.17)||1.00 (0.28)||0.88 (0.21)||1.01 (0.18)||0.91 (0.32)|
|Sotomayor||0.87 (0.22)||1.24 (0.34)||1.84 (0.44)||3.63 (0.63)||1.82 (0.64)|
McDonald was argued on March 2, after I camped outside One First Street (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). McDonald considers whether the Second Amendment should be incorporated so as to apply to the states. This is a very contentious case, and likely the most significant case not yet decided. Our users are quite resolute that the Supreme Court will incorporate the Second Amendment, and reverse the Seventh Circuit. In fact, over 70% of our members made this prediction. Additionally, this outcome is highly precise, having a confidence interval of 7.7 percentage points at a 99% confidence level.
As for the delay in the decision, the data reveals that this case is heavily dependent upon ideology. Ginsburg is likely to withhold her vote from any consensus that reverses the lower court and incorporates the Second Amendment. On the conservative side, the idea of incorporation through the the Due Process Clause has produced slight hesitancy. Although Privileges or Immunities is an option in this case, it is doubtful that it has a significant impact on predictions, though I am still hopeful (see my co-authored article on McDonald and Privileges or Immunities ).
This case will likely be decided on the last day of opinions, and likely after the start of the Kagan confirmation hearing. Additionally, Justice Stevens, the author of the Heller dissent, will likely write the dissent in this case. Expect this to be his farewell to the court; his opinion should be quite epic.
The second case, Christian Legal Society, asks whether or not recognizing a religious student group would violate the Establishment Clause. At 55%, the predictions do not tend strong enough one way or the other to be statistically significant. This indicates that the case is a hard and contentious decision, and further supported by the lack of statistical significance in the SMRs, one that will more than likely fall among ideological lines. Although the numbers for this case do not give us much information about the outcome, their lack of significance does show that it is hard to pick the “correct” course for the Supreme Court to decide this case.
Predictions for PCAOB, Bilski, and John Doe v. Reed, after the jump at JoshBlackman.com.