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A Better Partnership
May 12, 2009

Chief Justice Kelly on changes to the Court's docket

In our interview, Chief Justice Kelly noted the surge in applications for leave to appeal in the last 30 years and' speculated as to whether the types of cases' advocates choose to bring to the Court will change now that the Court's personnel has changed:

"[N]ow with the change on the Court this last year, I'm expecting some change also in the types of cases we're seeing because . . . of the expectation of experienced counsel on what will be of interest to the Court."'

OCJ Blog:' How has the Court's docket changed over your tenure'' ' Have there been changes in the volume of applications,' the number of cases heard, or the subject matter that the Court has been hearing more of'

CJ Kelly:' There has been -- there's been a steady flow of cases in the last five years, for example.' The numbers have' remained pretty constant between 2,200, 2,400.' Now I asked the clerk, Corbin Davis, and he goes back quite a few years, and he said that in 1974 there were only' about 750 cases.' So over that length of time certainly there has been a huge increase.'

As far as the type of' cases, it tends to reflect what's going on on the Supreme Court, it seems to me.' For example, when the [U.S. Supreme]' Court decided that criminal defendants who were entitled to an appeal even if they had pleaded guilty at the' trial level,' . . . we saw an increase of criminal cases.' For a period there was like a bubble there.' And often I perceive that if attorneys suspect that the Court is ready to' rule on a certain issue they will then be more likely to bring that issue before us if they can.' Certainly there have been many instances where members of the Court have broadcast allowing us to look at an issue.' So they've' encouraged, I think, some of those issues to come up.' ' '

And now with the change on the Court this last year I'm expecting some change also in the types of cases we're seeing because, again, of the expectation of experienced counsel on what will be of interest to the' Court.

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