Yesterday, we began our investigation of a new question: how do the voting patterns of the Court’s pro tem Justices – Court of Appeal Justices assigned by the Chief Justice for one case to replace a recused or retired Justice – differ from those of the permanent members of the Court? We began our analysis by considering the Court’s civil cases between 2000 and 2007. Today, we turn our attention to the years 2008 through 2016.
During the past nine years, eighty-eight votes have been cast in civil cases by pro tem Justices. Half of the pro tem appointments were associated with retiring Justices who were not quickly replaced by the Governor: there were 23 pro tem votes cast in civil cases in 2011, 14 in 2014 and 11 in 2015. In addition, ten pro tem votes were cast in 2009, and fourteen were cast in 2010. No pro tem Justices wrote concurring opinions in civil cases during these years, but one pro tem joined a concurrence both in 2010 and 2011. Two Justices wrote dissents in 2011 and one in 2014. One pro tem Justice joined a dissent in 2013, and two did in 2014.
Dissent has been quite rare among pro tem Justices in civil cases since 2008. No pro tem sided with the minority in a civil case in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015 or 2016. For 2011, 91.3% of the pro tem votes were with the majority. The agreement rate only dropped below the 90% rate for two years: in 2013, when it was 88.89%, and in 2014, when 71.43% of the pro tem votes were with the majority. For the entire period, 81 of 88 pro tem votes were cast with the majority – 92%. During these same years, 94.1% of votes cast by permanent Justices in civil cases were with the majority. So while permanent Justices were more likely to dissent in civil cases for the years 2000 through 2007, over the past nine years, pro tem Justices have been slightly more likely to dissent.
Join us back here next Thursday as we turn our attention to voting patterns among pro tem Justices in the Court’s criminal cases.