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SCOTX again clears its docket of argued cases

With this past week’s orders, the Texas Supreme Court finished issuing opinions in the cases that were argued during its 2018 term. All the recent opinions are collected on this blog page.

This marks four years that the Court has met its target of clearing those argued cases from its docket by the end of June, roughly matching the U.S. Supreme Court calendar.

This week’s orders also look ahead to the fall, assigning specific argument dates to 30 cases that will be heard in September and October.1

Some early statistics

I try to keep my published statistics up-to-date throughout the year, but one of the Justices might have beaten me to it with some tweets on Friday morning.

My opinion totals, luckily for me, match those. I show 71 signed decisions and 29 per curiams, totaling 100.

There could be two wrinkles with my totals. First, I did decide to count the new decision on rehearing in USAA Texas Lloyds Company v. Gail Menchaca, No. 14-0721 with this new term. The Court granted rehearing, wrote a substantially different opinion, and changed its voting alignment. For my purposes at least, that’s a new decision. So, it comes off the books for 2017 and goes onto the books for 2018.

Second, I also decided to treat USAA Texas Lloyds v. Menchaca as a plurality, rather than a majority.2 I’m not sure how the official statistics, when they’re issued, will classify this case. Although there are parts of the lead opinion that gathered more than four signatories, only three justices joined the opinion’s rationale for the judgment of remand. That feels like a plurality to me.

By my count, that makes two pluralities this term. The other was issued just this past Friday. In Amanda Bradshaw v. Barney Samuel Bradshaw, No. 16-0328
, the five justices who voted for the judgment did not agree on the rationale.

And if you’re looking for a sneak peak at my voting tables showing how the Texas Supreme Court Justices vote with or against each other, the online version of that chart now covers all the opinions through June 2018. I haven’t yet had time to really analyze this term’s patterns. But if you want to explore the rare disagreements between some justices, or rare agreement between others, you can click through to see which specific opinions led to these totals.

  1. The list of those granted cases is available on this blog page, and the fall calendar begins on this page
  2. My opinion chart for the term now breaks majorities and pluralities into separate columns.