Justices Cuellar and Liu were the most frequent questioners during civil cases in 2018. Justice Cuellar averaged 5.42 questions of appellants, 5.94 of appellees and 0.48 in rebuttals. Justice Liu averaged 4.33 of appellants, 6.15 of appellees and 1.24 in rebuttals. Justice Corrigan averaged 2.42 questions in appellants, 2.18 of appellees and 0.64 in rebuttals. Justice Kruger averaged 3.72 questions of appellants, 3.75 questions of appellees and 0.44 questions in rebuttals. The Chief Justice averaged 4.17 questions of appellants, 4.9 questions of appellees and 0.8 questions in rebuttals. Justice Chin averaged 2.85 questions of appellants, 5.67 questions of appellees and 1.21 questions in rebuttals. Pro tem Justices averaged 1.59 questions of appellants, 1.41 of appellees and 0.53 questions in rebuttals.
Justices writing majority opinions averaged more questions. Justice Corrigan averaged 8.67 questions of appellants when writing majority opinions, 10 questions of appellees and 0.33 in rebuttals. Justice Kruger averaged 7.67 questions of appellants, 8.33 questions of appellees and 0.67 questions in rebuttals. The Chief Justice averaged 7.5 questions of appellants, 7.13 questions of appellees and 0.63 questions in rebuttals. Justice Chin averaged 5.71 questions of appellants, 6.43 questions of appellees and 2.71 questions in rebuttals. Justice Cuellar averaged 7.6 questions of appellants, 5.8 questions of appellees and 0.8 questions in rebuttals. Justice Liu averaged 6.75 questions of appellants, 8.25 questions of appellees and 0.75 questions in rebuttals.
When writing civil concurrences, Justice Kruger averaged 5.5 questions to appellants, 6 questions to appellees and 0.5 questions in rebuttals. The Chief Justice averaged 4 questions to appellees and none to appellants. Justice Chin averaged 4.33 questions to appellants, 2.33 questions in rebuttal and 2.33 questions to appellees. Justice Cuellar averaged 4.5 questions to appellants, 7.5 questions to appellees and 1 question in rebuttal. Justice Liu averaged 2.67 questions to appellants, 8.33 questions to appellees and 0.67 questions in rebuttal. Pro tem Justices averaged two questions to appellees and none to appellants or in rebuttals.
Only three Justices wrote civil dissents during 2018. Justice Chin averaged seven questions to appellants, nine to appellees and four in rebuttal when writing a dissent. Justice Cuellar averaged eight questions to appellants, seven to appellees and none in rebuttal. Justice Liu averaged eleven questions to appellants, six to appellees and six in rebuttal.
Only Justice Liu averaged more questions to the winning party when voting with the majority in an affirmance. Justice Corrigan averaged 1.86 questions to appellants and 0.29 questions in rebuttal. Justice Kruger averaged 4.15 questions to appellants and 0.23 in rebuttal. The Chief Justice averaged 5.92 questions to appellants and 0.69 in rebuttal. Justice Chin averaged 2.93 questions to appellants and 1.21 in rebuttal. Justice Cuellar averaged 4.21 questions to appellants and 0.43 questions in rebuttal.
Justices Kruger, Cuellar and Liu and Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye followed the expected pattern when they voted with the majority in civil reversals, asking more questions of appellees. Justice Kruger averaged 4.6 questions of appellees, 3.47 of appellants and 0.67 in rebuttals. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye averaged 6.71 questions of appellees, 2.93 of appellant and 1 in rebuttals. Justice Cuellar averaged 7.07 questions of appellees, 5.73 questions of appellants and 0.4 questions in rebuttal. Justice Liu averaged 6.73 questions of appellees, 4.93 questions of appellants and 1.73 in rebuttal.
Dissents were rare among the Court’s 2018 civil cases, so it’s difficult to see whether a Justice tended to ask the party he or she was voting against, or the party who would likely lose the most questions. When dissenting from a civil reversal, Justice Chin averaged seven questions of appellants, four in rebuttal and nine of appellees. Justice Cuellar averaged eight questions of appellants and seven of appellees. Justice Liu averaged eleven questions of appellants, six of appellees and six in rebuttal. Pro tem Justices averaged five questions of appellants, two of appellees and three in rebuttal.
Over longer periods of time, asking the first question is a fairly good indicator that the Justice might be writing an opinion. For only a single year, it’s a less reliable indicator. For civil cases in 2018, Justice Cuellar was most often the first questioner, asking the first question of appellants eleven times and ten times of appellees. Justice Corrigan led off six times to appellants, four to appellees and three in rebuttals. Justice Kruger began three times to appellants, five to appellees and two in rebuttal. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye began four times to appellants, two to appellees and two in rebuttal. Justice Chin asked the first question five times to appellants, ten times to appellees and six times in rebuttal. Justice Liu asked the first question seven times of appellants, five of appellees and eight times in rebuttal. Pro tem Justices asked the first question once of appellees and three times in rebuttal.
Join us next time as we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal arguments for 2018.