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2017 December

Access Decisions in the 2016–17 Term

A (Mostly) Subdued U.S. Supreme Court in a Year of Political Upheaval

By Mona Tawatao, Jane Perkins & Gary Smith

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016–17 Term operated with only eight justices until the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch in April. Perhaps surprisingly in such a politically tumultuous year, the Court issued many unanimous decisions. Several of the Court’s decisions—on topics such as tribal sovereign immunity, service by mail to another country, and attorney fees in a case of bad faith—implicated plaintiffs’ access to the federal court system.

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