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The Number-of-Questions Theory Stumbles

Ed Lee at iSCOTUSnow has been predicting the outcome of U.S. Supreme Court cases based on the number of questions asked each side during oral argument.  "Studies have shown that the advocate who receives more questions during oral argument is more likely to lose."  It's a strong correlation as these things go, but correlation is not certainty.  Here is the October 15 prediction in Jennings v. Stephens:

My prediction is that the Court will side with the Respondent Stephens' position (i.e., that the Fifth Circuit correctly decided the case). This case is easier to predict [than a civil case argued the same day]. The Petitioner Jennings received 14 more questions than the Respondent Stephens, which is a fairly large differential in questioning that suggests a win for Stephens (the Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division).

Even so, the predictions are well worth watching, and the record is quite strong overall this term.

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