Explaining SCOTUS Repeaters

69 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc 297 (2016)

UCLA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-45

27 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2016 Last revised: 22 Nov 2016

See all articles by Richard M. Re

Richard M. Re

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: October 28, 2016


Why review the same case twice? That’s perhaps the most fundamental question posed by Jason Iuliano and Ya Sheng Lin’s study of what I call “Plenary Repeaters,” or cases that have resulted in multiple full merits rulings in the Supreme Court following certiorari. Drawing on Iuliano and Lin’s research, this response essay argues that a full explanation of Repeaters would recognize both that granting cert in one iteration of a case can increase the odds of a later grant in that case (interdependence) and that some legal issues are posed in only a small number of cases (infrequency). In addition, this essay collects evidence on recent “Summary Repeaters,” or cases that are Repeaters by virtue of summary rulings following certiorari, as well as on the expertise of attorneys who participate in Repeaters at the cert stage. Both Plenary and Summary Repeaters shed light on features of the Court’s constrained power to set its own agenda and so complicate depictions of the Court as a “reactive” institution. The factors that generate Repeaters thus offer avenues for additional research.

Suggested Citation

Re, Richard M., Explaining SCOTUS Repeaters (October 28, 2016). 69 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc 297 (2016), UCLA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-45, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2859650

Richard M. Re (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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