Last time, we showed that for the years 1990 through 1999, a divided decision at the Court of Appeal was a moderate indicator that a reversal was more likely at the Supreme Court in a civil case.  But on the criminal side, things are different – if there’s a dissent below, reversal is considerably more likely at the Supreme Court.  For the years 1990 through 1999, 84.38% of cases with a dissent below were reversed at the Supreme Court.  Only 42.28% of cases with unanimous decisions at the Court of Appeal were reversed.

The numbers were lopsided in nearly every year: 1990 (100% reversal with a dissent below to 37.97% with no dissent below), 1991 (75% to 34.92%), 1992 (100% to 40.74%), 1994 (100% to 47.5%), 1996 (100% to 43.59%), 1997 (100% to 50%), 1998 (80% to 32.5%) and 1999 (100% to 42.73%).

Join us back here later in the week as we review the data for the years 2000 through 2009.

Image courtesy of Flickr by terencechisholm (no changes).

For the next three weeks, we’ll be reviewing data closely related to our just-concluded look at dissents below and at the Supreme Court.  This time, we’re asking a related question – is the Supreme Court more likely to reverse when there’s a dissent below?  Or to put it another way – is there reason to believe that the Supreme Court hears cases with a dissent below because it agrees with the dissenter?  We begin with civil cases for the years 1990 through 1999, comparing two data points: yearly percentage of cases with a dissent below which resulted in a reversal, and yearly percentage of cases decided unanimously below which resulted in a reversal.

For these years, although the effect isn’t dramatic, it’s definitely there – reversal is more likely if there’s a dissent below – 66.2% reversal when there’s a dissent below to 62.84% when there’s not.  In six of the ten years from 1990 to 1999, the percentage of cases with a dissent below which resulted in reversal outpaced the no-dissent reversals.  Overall for the period, cases with a dissent at the Court of Appeal had a reversal at the Supreme Court in 66.19% of cases, while cases with no dissent below had a reversal in 62.84%.  The data was especially lopsided in 1993 (87.5% dissent below, reversal above, 65.79% no dissent below, reversal above); 1996 (83.33% to 64%) and 1997 (80% to 62.22%).5% to 41.94%), 1995 (80% to 65.85%); 1996 (83.33% to 46.51%); 1997 (66.67% to 47.37%), and 1999 (66.67% to 50%).

Join us back here next time as we review the data in criminal cases for the years 1990 through 1999.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Pom’ (no changes).

Just as we concluded last time for civil cases, dissent at the Supreme Court was almost always much more common than division at the Court of Appeal in the Court’s criminal cases.  Between 2005 and 2020, the dissent rate was higher at the Court of Appeal in only three of 16 years: 2007, 2008 and 2020.  For the most part, the margin wasn’t close: 29.51% to 6.56% in 2005; 41.51% to 7.55% in 2006; 22.73% to 0 in 2015; 33.33% to 7.14% in 2017; 24% to 10% in 2018 and 24.39% to 4.88% in 2019.

In 2009, 19.67% of Supreme Court decisions were divided, while 6.56% of those cases had a dissenter below.  The following year, it was 19.18% at the Supreme Court, 8.22% at the Court of Appeal.  In 2011, 27.45% at the Supreme Court had at least one dissenter, while 13.73% did at the Court of Appeal.  In 2012, it was 19.48% at the Supreme Court, 9.09% at the Court of Appeal.  In 2013, the numbers drew a bit closer – 18% at the Supreme Court, 12% at the Court of Appeal.  In 2014, 16.36% of criminal cases had at least one dissenter at the Supreme Court, while 5.45% of those cases had a dissenter below.  In 2016, the numbers were the closest yet: 7.69% at the Supreme Court, 5.77% at the Court of Appeal.

Join us back here next time as we begin our review of another related issue.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Philip Tellis (no changes).

Last time, we determined that dissent was more common at the Supreme Court than at the Court of Appeal in every year between 1990 and 2004.  The story is much the same for the years 2005 through 2020 – 2 years higher at the Court of Appeal (2011, 2018); 2 years tied (2008, 2019) ; 12 years higher at the Supreme Court.  In 2011, the dissent rate at the Court of Appeal was 27.27% to 24.24% at the Supreme Court.  In 2018, it was 12.12% at the Court of Appeal, 6.06% at the Supreme Court.

But for the most part, the rate at the Supreme Court is far higher – 21.57% at the Supreme Court, 9.8% at the Court of Appeal in 2005; 26.42% to 15.09% in 2006; 39.29% to 16.07% in 2007; 15.91% to 9.09% in 2009; 21.43% to 7.14% in 2010; 21.88% to 6.25% in 2013; 30.43% to 13.04% in 2014; 12.5% to 3.13% in 2015; 33.33% to 19.44% in 2016 and 13.79% to 6.9% in 2020.

Join us back here next time as we review the data for criminal cases from 2005 to 2020.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Pedro Szekely (no changes).

Last time, we reviewed the data for civil cases between 1990 and 2004, comparing the percentage of cases in which there was a dissent at the Court of Appeal to the percentage of civil cases in which there was dissent at the Supreme Court.  This time, we’re looking at the data for criminal cases during the same years.

There was very little correlation between dissent at the Court of Appeal and division at the Supreme Court in criminal cases.  In none of the fifteen years between 1990 and 2004 was the dissent rate at the Court of Appeal higher than Supreme Court division, and in most years, Supreme Court division was considerably higher.

In 1990, 31.25% of criminal cases had a dissenter, while only 1.25% of those same cases had a dissent below.  In 1991, 39.39% had a dissent at the Supreme Court, while only 6.06% had a dissent below.  The following year, the numbers were almost identical – 39.66% at the Supreme Court, 6.9% at the Court of Appeal.  In 1993, the margin increased – 62% had dissents at the Supreme Court, only 10% had a dissenter at the Court of Appeal.  In 1994, 60.98% of criminal cases had a dissenter at the Supreme Court, while only 2.4% had a dissenter below.

The margins decreased a bit in the years that followed but stayed large.  In 1996, 35.71% of criminal cases had a dissent at the Supreme Court, while 6.82% had a dissent below.  In 1998, it was 44.44% at the Supreme Court, 11.11% at the Court of Appeal.  In 2000, 14.55% had a dissent at the Court of Appeal while 30.91% had a dissent at the Supreme Court.  In 2002, it was 35.21% at the Supreme Court, 16.9% at the Court of Appeal.

Join us back here next week as we continue our review of the dissent data.

Image courtesy of Flickr by R Boed (no changes).

This week, we’re evaluating whether dissent at the Court of Appeal is an indicator of division at the Supreme Court.  Today, we’re looking at the Court’s civil cases between 1990 and 2004.

As we can see from the Table below, there is no relation between the dissent rate at the Court of Appeal and the division rate at the Supreme Court.  Between 1990 and 1993, the percentage of dissents at the Court of Appeal was 12.82%, 7.5%, 15.38% and 17.39%.  For the same years, the percentage of divided decisions at the Supreme Court was 58.97%, 55%, 55.77% and 58.7%.

In 1997, 10% of civil cases had a dissent at the Court of Appeal, while 64% had a dissent at the Supreme Court.  The following year, 7.4% had a dissent at the Court of Appeal, while 53.7% had a dissent at the Supreme Court.  In 2001, 12.5% of civil cases had a dissent below, while 43.75% had a dissent at the Supreme Court.  In 2002, 2.08% had a dissent below, while 39.58% had dissenters at the Supreme Court.  In 2003, only 4.55% had a dissent at the Court of Appeal, but 38.64% of cases had at least one dissenter at the Supreme Court.

Join us back here next time as we review the data for criminal law cases during the same years – 1990 through 2004.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Giuseppe Milo (no changes).

Appellants in insurance law cases won 58.33% of the time to 41.67% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won the same fraction of the time – 58.33%.  Respondents’ amici won 44.74% of their cases.

In property law cases, appellants won 57.14% of cases to 42.86% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici had a far tougher time, winning only 28.57% to 76.92% for respondents’ amici.

Appellants in tax law cases won two-thirds of the time to one-third for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 58% of their cases.  Respondents’ amici won 26.67%.

Appellants in tort law cases won 57.97% of their cases to 42.03% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 70.06% in tort cases.  Respondents’ amici won 39.82%.  In wills and estates cases, appellants won 71.43% to 28.57% for respondents.  Amici fared considerably worse – appellants’ amici lost all their cases, while respondents’ amici won only 5.56%.  Appellants in workers’ comp cases won 54.55% to 45.45% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 78.26% of their cases, while respondents’ amici won only half of theirs.

Join us back here later this week as we turn our attention to another issue.

Image courtesy of Flickr by James White (no changes).

In the next two posts, we’re concluding our review of the amicus data, divided out by area of law.

Appellants in arbitration cases on 84% of the time between 2005 and 2020 to only 16% for respondents.  Amici were nearly as lopsided – 89.83% wins for appellants’ amici, only 10.42% for respondents’ amici.  In civil procedure cases, appellants won 58.49% to 41.51% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 69.7% of their cases to 44.94% for respondents’ amici.

Appellants in commercial law cases won 72.73% of their cases to 27.27% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 67.35% to 32% for respondents’ amici.

In constitutional law cases, appellants won 56.6% to 43.4% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 51.3% of their cases to 48.8% for respondents’ amici.

Appellants in domestic relations cases won 90% of the time between 2005 and 2020.  Amici were nearly as lopsided – appellants’ amici won all their cases, while respondents’ amici won only 10.53% of the time.  Appellants in election law cases won two-thirds of their cases.  Appellants’ amici won all their cases, while respondents’ amici split theirs down the middle.

Appellants in employment law cases won 58.06% of their cases to 41.94% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 61.33% of their cases.  Respondents’ amici won 41.94% of theirs.  In environmental law, appellants won 72.73% from 2005 to 2020 to 27.27% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 80.2% of their cases, while respondents’ amici won only 22.54%.

Appellants in government and administrative law cases won 62.37% of their cases to 37.63% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 68%, while respondents’ amici won 42.77% of their cases.

Join us back here next time as we review the remainder of the data.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Matthew Dillon (no changes).

Between 1990 and 2004, appellants in insurance law cases won 63.27% of the time to 36.73% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 68.85% of their cases to 49.57% for respondents’ amici.  Appellants in property law cases won 73.33% of the time to only 26.67% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 83.33% of their cases; respondents’ amici lost all theirs.

Appellants in secured transactions cases won 71.43% of the time.  Appellants’ amici won 90% of their cases, while respondents’ amici won only one-third of theirs.  Appellants in tax law cases won 68.75% of the time to 31.25% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 61.54% of their cases, while respondents’ amici won only 6.25% of their cases.

Appellants in tort cases won 62.96% of their cases to 37.04% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 73.04% of the time.  Respondents’ amici won only 51.32%.  In Wills and Estates cases, appellants won 45.45% of the cases to 54.55% for respondents.  Amici had little success in these cases – appellants’ amici won only 27.27%, while respondents’ amici won only 9.09% of the time.

Finally, appellants in workers compensation cases won 62.96% of their cases to 37.04% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 68.75% of their cases, while respondents’ amici won 46.15%.

Join us back here later this week as we continue our examination of the amicus data for the years 2005 through 2020.

Image courtesy of Flickr by _Veit_ (no changes).

This week, we’re continuing our investigation of the data on amicus curiae briefs.  We’re comparing the winning percentage in each area of law for appellants’ and respondents’ amici to the overall winning percentage for each side.  As I mentioned over at Illinois Supreme Court Review, of course this inquiry is subject to the objection of post hoc ergo propter hoc – just because amici won at a higher rate than appellants and respondents overall doesn’t mean they were actually decisive in those wins.  But that’s for a future post . . .

Appellants won 60% of arbitration law cases between 1990 and 2004 to 40% for respondents.  Amazingly, appellants’ amici won 95.24% of the time, while respondents’ amici won only 8.7% of their cases.  Appellants and respondents evenly split civil procedure cases 50-50.  Appellants’ amici won 52.21% of their cases, while respondents’ amici won 67.57%.

Appellants in commercial law cases won only 38.46% of their cases to 61.54% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 50.98% of their cases, while respondents’ amici won 82.14%.  Appellants won 61.96% of their cases in constitutional law during these years to 38.04% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 54.74%, while respondents’ amici won 35.63%.

Appellants won three-quarters of the domestic relations cases between 1990 and 2004.  Appellants’ amici won 71.43% of the time, to only 13.33% for respondents’ amici.  Appellants in election law cases also won three-quarters of the time.  Appellants’ amici won all their cases; respondents’ amici won none of theirs.

In employment law cases, appellants won 59.09% to 40.91% for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 67.57% of the time to 30.67% for respondents’ amici.  Appellants in environmental law cases won two-thirds of their cases to one third for respondents.  Appellants’ amici won 70.59% of their cases, while respondents’ amici won 33.33%.

Join us back here next time as we review the remainder of the data for the years 1990 through 2004.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Alex Beattie (no changes).