The Law: The Supreme Court: Deciding Whether to Decide

IN the view of its Chief Justice, the Supreme Court of the United States is choking to death on legal paper work. Speaking last week at a Columbia University dinner honoring the late Harlan Fiske Stone (Chief Justice from 1941 to 1946), Warren Burger noted that the annual docket has grown from 1,448 cases in 1945, to 4,202 in 1969—his first year on the court—to 4,533 cases last year. At last Friday's conference session, he added, the Justices had to consider whether to hear full-dress arguments on as many as 247 cases.

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