Depressing fact of the day: The Fourth Circuit hears oral argument in about 9% of the roughly 5,000 cases it considers each year.
For context, here’s the 2012 acceptance rate of each Ivy League school, according to Google:
- Harvard: 5.9%
- Yale: 6.8%
- Columbia: 7.4%
- Princeton: 8.5%
- Brown: 9%
- Dartmouth: 9.8%
- Penn: 12.3%
- Cornell: 16.2%
So basically, the chance of the Fourth Circuit granting oral argument in any given case is about as good as the chance of a mid-tier Ivy granting admission to any given applicant. Only the very best, cream-of-the-crop cases evidently merit that consideration.
But what does that mean? What metric does the court employ to decide which cases warrant argument?