This time, we’re looking at the Supreme Court’s unanimity rate in civil cases between 2010 and 2020, tracking the data alongside changes in the Court’s party alignment.
Between 2010 and 2014, the Court continued to have six Republican nominees and only one Democrat. Although the Table seems to suggest a sharp drop in the unanimity rate during these years, in fact, it was less then ten points from high point to trough. The Court decided 78.57% of its civil cases unanimously in 2010. That number dipped slightly to 75.76% in 2011 and 73.08% in 2012 before rising back to 78.13% in 2013. The unanimity rate was 69.57% in 2014.
From 2015 to 2018, the Court consisted of four Republican nominees and three Democratic nominees. The unanimity rate saw a one-year dip from 87.5% in 2015 to only two-thirds in 2016, but rose back to 76.19% in 2017 and 93.94% in 2018.
Beginning with Justice Groban taking his seat, the party makeup of the Court shifted in 2019 to four Democrats and three Republicans. The unanimity rate has been stable: 85.29% in 2019 and 86.21% in 2020.
Join us back here next time as we address the individual Justices’ rates of voting with the majority.