Today, we’re looking at the Justices’ agreement rates in divided criminal cases for the years 2008 through 2013. As we did on the civil side, since during this period the Court was drawing closer to having its current membership, we present the data Justice by Justice in order to facilitate comparisons.
Justice Corrigan’s closest match during these years was with pro tem Justices at 92.86%. But of course, that’s a significantly lower number of votes than with her full time colleagues. Justice Corrigan had an agreement rate in the eighties with four Justices: Chief Justice George (88.24%), Justice Baxter (87.5%), Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye (84.85%) and Justice Chin (84.72%). Justices Corrigan and Liu had an agreement rate of 70.83%. Justices Corrigan and Werdegar were at 65.28%. Justices Corrigan and Moreno were at 50%. Justices Corrigan and Kennard were at 40.85%.
Justice Kennard’s closest match on the Court during these years was Justice Moreno, with an agreement rate of 56.41%. Justice Kennard and Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye were at 54.55%. Five Justices were in the forties – Justices Werdegar (49.3%), the pro tem Justices (46.15%), Justice Chin (45.07%), Chief Justice George (42.42%) and Justice Corrigan (40.85%). Justice Kennard and Justice Baxter’s agreement rate was 39.44%, and Justice Kennard and Justice Liu were at 33.33%.
Justice Werdegar’s closest match was Chief Justice George at 73.53%. Five of Justice Werdegar’s colleagues were in the sixties – Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justice Chin at 66.67%, Justice Corrigan at 65.28%, Justice Baxter at 61.11% and Justice Moreno at 60%. Justice Liu was right behind at 58.33%. Justices Werdegar and Kennard had an agreement rate of 49.3%, and Justices Werdegar and the pro tems were at 42.86%.
Chief Justice George was closely aligned in criminal cases with Justice Chin (91.18%) and Justice Corrigan (88.24%). Two Justices were in the seventies – Justice Baxter (76.47%) and Justice Werdegar (73.53%). Justice Moreno was at 55.88%, Justice Kennard was at 42.42%, and the Chief didn’t vote with the pro tems in any divided criminal case.
Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye had an agreement rate of 100% in divided criminal cases with Justice Moreno. The Chief Justice had a rate of 90.91% with Justice Chin, 87.88% with Justice Baxter, 87.5% with the pro tem Justices, and 84.85% with Justice Corrigan. The Chief Justice and Justice Werdegar agreed in 66.67% of divided decisions, and Justices Liu (58.33%) and Kennard (54.55%) were in the fifties.
Justice Chin had several very high agreement rates – 91.18% (George) and 90.91% (Cantil-Sakauye) with the two Chief Justices during the period, 88.89% with Justice Baxter, 85.71% with the pro tems, and 84.72% with Justice Corrigan. Justices Chin and Werdegar were at 66.67%, Justice Liu was at 54.17%, Justice Moreno was at (47.5%) and Justice Kennard was 45.07%.
Justice Baxter also had very high agreement rates with several colleagues, including Justice Chin (88.89%), Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye (87.88%), Justice Corrigan (87.5%) and the pro tem Justices (85.71%). The remainder of the Court was evenly spread out – Chief Justice George (76.47%), Justice Werdegar (61.11%), Justice Liu (50%), Justice Moreno (45%) and Justice Kennard (39.44%).
As we noted above, Justice Moreno and Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye had an agreement rate of 100% during these years. The remainder of Justice Moreno’s Table is lower: Justice Werdegar (60%), Justice Kennard (56.41%), Chief Justice George (55.88%), Justice Corrigan (50%), Justice Chin (47.5%), Justice Baxter (45%) and the pro tems (33.33%).
Justice Liu’s highest agreement rate was with Justice Corrigan – 70.83%. Four of the remaining Justices were in the fifties – Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye (58.33%), Justice Werdegar (58.22%), Justice Chin (54.17%) and Justice Baxter(50%). Justices Liu and Kennard had a rate of 33.33%.
Next, we chart each Justice’s agreement rate with the pro tem Justices. Justice Corrigan led at 92.86%. Three Justices were in the eighties (all of them Republican appointees): Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye (87.5%) and Justices Chin and Baxter (both 85.71%). Justice Kennard was at 46.15%, Justice Werdegar was at 42.86%, and Justice Moreno’s rate was at 33.33%. Finally, Chief Justice George had an agreement rate with the pro tems of zero.
So what does all this mean? One answer is what we’ve seen above – an indication, during a six-year snapshot, of the Justice whose voting record was most and least similar to the subject of each Table in criminal cases. We conclude with an additional possibility – which Justice was most and least in line with the rest of the Court (and how much in sync was the Court as a whole on criminal cases)? One suggestive indication is to calculate each Justice’s average agreement rate – the arithmetical average of all that Justice’s agreement rates with his or her colleagues. If the average agreement rate is high, it indicates that the Justice was often in the majority of divided criminal decisions; if low, then frequently in the minority.
The highest average agreement rate during these years was Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, at 78.84%. Justices Corrigan (73.9%) and Chin (72.76%) were next. Justice Baxter’s average was 69.11%, Chief Justice George’s was 61.1%, and Justice Werdegar’s was 60.42%. Three more Justices were in the fifties – the pro tems (59.26%) and Justices Moreno (56.02%) and Liu (54.15%). Justice Kennard was lowest at 45.28%.
Join us back here tomorrow as we conclude this topic with a look at the years 2014 through 2018.