In 2004, then-appeals court Judge John Roberts Jr. tested a theory for predicting Supreme Court outcomes. Using oral argument transcripts, he tallied the number of questions that justices asked of advocates in a sampling of cases. Eighty-six percent of the time, Roberts reported, the lawyer for the party that ultimately lost had gotten the most questions. A new study of arguments leading to 5-4 decisions indicates that, as chief justice, Roberts affirms that pattern more than any other active questioner.
When in Doubt, Look to Roberts for Outcome of Supreme Court Cases
July 11, 2007