Summary Reversals in the Supreme Court
posted by Gerard Magliocca
Adam Liptak has a piece in today’s New York Times about the Supreme Court’s growing use of brief per curium opinions to engage in what amounts to error correction. I’ve blogged about this before and criticized this trend as inconsistent with the Court’s proper role of resolving circuit splits or addressing highly significant issues of federal law.
I wonder, though, if this is the inevitable result of a legal culture that tolerates the widespread use of unpublished summary orders by the federal courts of appeal (often without argument). A per curiam is published, of course, but its precedential value is close to zero–that’s what happens to short opinions that are long on facts and short on analysis. Most of the Justices are former circuit court judges, and they might see no problem with adapting summary order practice to the Court.