The Petition for Review

Last time, we reviewed the Court’s civil cases, asking whether divided decisions from the Court of Appeal were more likely to be reversed in whole or in part than unanimous ones.  This time, we’re turning our attention to the criminal cases and finding a very different result.

In only four of the past thirty-one years

Two weeks ago, we addressed the question of how common cases with a dissent at the Court of Appeal were on the Supreme Court’s docket.  Our analysis illuminated the issue of whether it’s true that there’s no point in pursuing a petition for review from a unanimous Court of Appeal decision.

This week, we’re digging

Last time, we reviewed the share of the Supreme Court’s civil caseload made up of decisions with a dissenter at the Court of Appeal.  Now let’s look at the criminal cases.

It turns out dissenters are even less important on the criminal side.  In 1990, only 1.25% of the criminal docket had a dissenter below. 

Last week we looked at the frequently heard claim that getting Supreme Court review of an unpublished decision of the Court of Appeal is a hopeless task.  This week, we’re looking at a similar bit of conventional wisdom – the Supreme Court doesn’t review unanimous decisions from the Court of Appeal.

In the table below,

Last time, we showed that for the most part since 1990, anywhere from twenty to forty-five percent of the Court’s civil decisions have arisen from unpublished decisions at the Court of Appeal.  This time we’re looking at the Court’s criminal docket.

Unpublished Court of Appeal decisions are far from the exception in criminal cases –

Between 2005 and 2019, the Supreme Court decided 53 civil constitutional law cases.  Thirty-two of those cases involved challenges to state government actions.  Ten cases involved claims of individual rights.  Seven cases involved civil procedure and judicial issues.  Finally, four cases related to challenges to local government actions.

Join us back here next Thursday as

In the past two weeks, we’ve taken a deeper look at the Supreme Court’s cases in two areas of law, asking which sub-areas those cases fall in.  Today, we’re moving on to another subject – civil constitutional law cases.

Between 1990 and 2004, the Supreme Court decided ninety-six civil constitutional law cases.  Just short of

Last week, we drilled down on the Supreme Court’s tort cases, looking year by year at what sub-areas of tort law produced the Court’s cases.  This week, we’re doing the same thing for the Court’s docket of insurance cases.  We’re dividing the field of insurance law into six sub-areas: coverage; separate torts against insurers (outside

Between 2005 and 2019, the Supreme Court decided only 29 insurance cases – far fewer than in our first 15 years.  Fourteen of those cases involved coverage questions (although four of those fourteen fell in a single year – 2005).  Three involved insurer torts, four dealt with exclusions, only two addressed defenses, three related to