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

The party alignment of the Supreme Court remained at six Republican appointees and one Democratic appointee from 2000 through 2009.  Across the entire period, the unanimity rate was 66.05% – twenty points higher than the unanimity rate for the 1990s.  The unanimity rate for 2000 was only 48.98%.  It rose to 56.25% for 2001.  After

This week, we’ve following up our discussion of the academic literature on panel effects with a review of the Court’s unanimity rates compared against the evolving party alignment of the Court.

For 1990 and part of 1991, the party alignment of the Court was five Republicans and two Democrats.  For those two years, the Court’s

Earlier this week, we began a four-part post at the Illinois Supreme Court Review briefly reviewing some of the leading academic literature on the phenomenon of “panel effects” – the theory that appellate panels are a collective decision-maker rather than a group of individual decision-makers, and thus a particular judge’s vote is influenced to some

Today, we’re reviewing the contents of our database, which includes every case decided by the California Supreme Court since January 8, 1990.  For every case, we’ve captured the following data points:


Official Reporter Citation

California Reporter Citation

Docket Number

Case Name


Petitioner Governmental Entity (Y/N)

Respondent Governmental Entity (Y/N)

Source of Appellate

Last time, we began our analysis by addressing the competing theories of judicial behavior.  Formalism, the oldest theory, teaches that judicial decision making can be explained and predicted based upon the facts, the applicable law and precedent and judicial deliberations – and nothing more.  But if formalism explains all of judicial decision making, then many