How many cases were orally argued in 2016?

Now that we have started a new year, I can share the oral argument statistics for 2016, and compare them with the statistics from 2015.


Total
30(f)
Orally Argued
% 30(f)
% Orally Argued
2015
1021
882
139
86%
14%
2016
855
756
99
88%
12%

First, only 855 cases appeared on a published calendar in 2016.  That is a 16% decrease in the number of cases on a published calendar from 2015 to 2016.  That seems large, so I collected the data from 2014, and found that 1,010 cases appeared on a published calendar.  This means between 2014 and 2015 the number of cases that appeared on a published calendar remained fairly constant. It will be interesting to see if 1,000 cases will appear on the published calendars in 2017 or if it will remain around 850 cases.

Second, there was a 2% decrease in orally argued cases and a 2% increase in cases not orally argued between 2015 and 2016. This difference is not statistically significant, meaning that I am 95% confident that the decrease in orally argued cases and the increase in cases not orally argued happened by chance.  In other words, the COA is not intentionally scheduling fewer cases for oral argument. 

Finally, I thought it would be interesting to see how the number of orally argued cases in 2014 and 2015 compared because Chief Judge Martin retired in August of 2014.  In 2014, 9.5% of cases were orally argued compared with 14% in 2015.  This difference is statistically significant, meaning that I am 95% sure that the increase in orally argued cases in 2015 did not happen by chance.  While it is impossible to show causation with this data, this one data point suggests that under Chief Judge McGee the COA may be more willing to hear oral argument than it was under Chief Judge Martin. 



Total
30(f)
Orally Argued
% 30(f)
% Orally Argued
2014
1010
914
96
90.5%
9.5%