For the past several weeks, we’ve been reviewing the Supreme Court tenure of soon-to-retire Justice Kathryn Werdegar. This week, we begin a new topic. Several weeks ago, we tracked the average number of amicus briefs filed, case by case, from year to year. But with the expansion of our data library, we can now track the average number of amicus briefs filed according to which side the amicus supported. So who averages more briefs, petitioners or respondents? We begin today by reviewing the yearly data for civil cases between 1994 and 2005.
We report the data in Table 207 below, divided up by average briefs supporting the petitioners, the respondents, and briefs which either took no side, or which couldn’t be definitively assigned based on the online docket. We see that three quarters of the time between 1994 and 2005, petitioners tended to average more amicus support than respondents did. The yearly averages were surprisingly stable on both sides of the case. In 1994, petitioners in civil cases averaged 1.61 amicus briefs. The following year, the average was 1.56. In 1996, the average was 1.23. For the same period, the averages for respondents were 0.98, 1.37 and 1.17, respectively.
In 1997, petitioners averaged 2.1 additional briefs to 1.24 for respondents. The following year, petitioners’ briefs had fallen sharply to 1.17, while respondents’ briefs were relatively flat at 1.21 – one of the few years when respondents averaged more. For 1999, petitioners averaged 2.02 briefs to 1.37 for respondents. For 2000, petitioners received the support of 2.18 amici to 1.65 for respondents. For 2001, petitioners’ support had fallen to an average of 1.6, while respondents got 1.44 amicus briefs on average.
For 2002, respondents averaged slightly more amicus briefs than petitioners in civil cases – 1.46 for respondents, 1.42 for petitioners. But the following year, petitioners were up to an average of 2.7, while respondents were flat at 1.5. For 2004, petitioners had fallen to an average of 1.58 amicus briefs, while respondents were up a bit at 1.77. For 2005, petitioners were up about 50%, to 2.22 briefs per case. Respondents averaged 2.04 briefs per case.
Join us back here tomorrow as we review the data on briefs per side in civil cases between 2006 and 2016.