Last week, we reviewed the Court’s history since 1992 with government and administrative law cases on the civil side, and sentencing law cases on the criminal docket.  This week, we’re looking at three questions: (1) does the Court tend to take more cases in each area won by one side or the other below; (2) how does the Court’s reversal rate vary, based upon which side won below; and (3) overall, how often has the Court reversed decisions in each area of law, either in whole or in part?  We begin with government and administrative law cases (note that we’re defining “governmental parties” broadly here – where a private public-interest group sued another private entity in order to vindicate the government’s administrative regulations, we count that as a “government entity” case.  We’ll carve out litigation by public interest groups in a future post.)

Since 1992, the Court has been slightly more likely to take cases won below by a government entity or party seeking to vindicate administrative regulations – 52.05% of the Court’s government/administrative law cases were won by the government below.  Surprisingly, the reversal rate on cases lost by the government was a bit lower than the overall rate – 52.44% – while the reversal rate of government wins was substantially higher – 67.42%.

In Table 506, we review affirmances of wins by those challenging government interests.  The Court affirmed once in 1992, three times in 1994, twice in 1995, once in 1996, twice in 1997 and 1998, once in 1999 and 2000, once in 2003, three times in 2004, four times in 2007, once in 2008 and 2009, three times in 2010, once in 2012, twice in 2013, three times in 2015 and 2016, and four times in 2017.

On the other hand, the Court reversed challengers’ wins twice in 1992, once in 1993, twice in 1994, once in 1995, four times in 1996, twice in 1997, once in 1998 and 1999, twice in 2000 and 2002, three times in 2003, twice in 2004, three times in 2005, twice in 2007, once in 2009, once in 2012, twice in 2013, once in 20114, three times in 2015, four times in 2016 and three times in 2017.

Government wins were affirmed five times in 1992, once in 1993, three times in 1995, once in 1997, once in 2000, twice in 2001, once in 2004, four times in 2006, twice in 2007 and 2008, once in 2013, twice in 2014 and 2015, and once in 2016 and 2017.

As Table 509 shows, government wins were frequently reversed between 1992 and 1997: three times in 1992, four in 1993, three in 1994 and 1995, four in 1996 and 1997, once in 1998, three times in 1999, 2000 and 2001, once in 2002 and 2003, three times in 2004, once in 2005, five times in 2006, twice in 2007, 2008 and 2009, once in 2010 and 2011, twice in 2012, once in 2013, three times in 2015 and 2016 and once in 2017.

Overall, of the Court’s 175 government and administrative law cases, the Court has reversed entirely in 92 and partially in another 20 cases – a reversal rate of 64%.  Between 1992 and 1995, the Court reversed 61.76% of the time.  Between 1996 and 2000, the Court reversed in 73.53% of its cases.  Between 2001 and 2005, the Court reversed 71.43% of the government and administrative law decisions it reviewed.  Between 2006 and 2010, the Court reversed in 53.13% of its cases.  Between 2011 and 2017, the Court reversed in 61.7% of its government and administrative law cases.

Join us back here as we review the Court’s decisions in criminal sentencing law.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Harry Blum (no changes).