The Third Circuit Still “Leads” in Fewest Oral Arguments, as Well as in Fewest Published Opinions

I have posted before about the relatively low percentage of Third Circuit appeals in which oral argument is heard.  The latest statistics show that little has changed in this regard.

Matthew Stiegler has a detailed post about this at his CA3 Blog.  His analysis also shows that the Third Circuit publishes fewer opinions than other Circuits do.  Both of those figures reached their lows in 2013 and then rebounded slightly in 2014.

Matthew attributes the low number of oral arguments and published opinions to a number of factors, including an increased caseload, the length of time that it has taken to fill vacancies on the Third Circuit, and the fact that no seats on that court have been added since 1990.  He notes that although Judge Rendell took  senior status seven months ago, no nominee has been proffered to fill that seat.  (Since this a presidential election year, it is highly unlikely that any nominee would get a vote anyway).

Judge Fuentes is due to take senior status in July 2016.  Thus, to the extent that personnel shortages lead to fewer oral arguments and/or published opinions (and it is not clear that they do, since other Circuits, with higher percentages of argued cases than the Third Circuit, have many of the same issues as does the Third Circuit), there is little prospect for change in sight.