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SCOTUS for law students (sponsored by Bloomberg Law): Why cases settle, by Stephen Wermiel, SCOTUS Blog

http://tinyurl.com/o9ohsjb

 If you want an unusual measure of the power of the Supreme Court, consider why parties to a case sometimes (although rarely) settle their dispute after the Justices have agreed to hear the appeal and as oral argument approaches.

In some cases, the answer may simply be fear of losing, but it can also be much more profound: not only the fear of losing, but also a concern that in the process the loss may establish a legal precedent for the nation that one side of the case considers harmful.