Tracking the Justices’ Majority Opinions in Criminal Cases, 2010-2015

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Yesterday, we began our examination of the Court’s majority opinions in the past six years by analyzing the opinions in civil cases.  Today, we turn our attention to the Court’s majority opinions criminal cases between 2010 and 2015.

We begin by once again reviewing the number of opinions written by each Justice.  In 2010, Chief Justice Kilbride led the Court, writing twelve majority opinions in criminal cases.  Justice Garman was next with ten opinions, followed by Justice Thomas (nine), Justice Karmeier (seven) and Justice Burke (six).  For 2011, the opinions were quite evenly distributed in criminal cases: Chief Justice Kilbride led again with eight, but Justice Freeman had seven, and Justices Burke, Garman, Thomas and Karmeier all had six apiece.  For 2012, Justices Burke, Garman and Theis led the Court with seven majority opinions each in criminal cases.  Justice Karmeier wrote four opinions, Justice Thomas three and Chief Justice Kilbride and Justice Freeman wrote two.

In 2013, Justices Karmeier and Theis led with seven majority opinions apiece in criminal cases.  Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman and Thomas were next, writing six opinions apiece.  Justice Burke wrote five opinions in criminal cases.  For 2014, Chief Justice Garman led, writing seven majority opinions.  Justices Freeman, Kilbride and Thomas wrote six each, and Justices Karmeier and Theis wrote four apiece.  Finally, in 2015, Justice Thomas led the Court, writing six majority opinions in criminal cases.  Justices Burke, Kilbride and Theis wrote five each, and Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman and Karmeier wrote four apiece.

Table 394

We turn next to the mean length of each Justices’ majority opinions in criminal cases.  For the past six years, majority opinions in criminal cases have averaged a bit longer, but the data is significantly impacted by occasional very long opinions.  For 2010, Justice Garman led the Court, averaging 28.6 pages.  Chief Justice Fitzgerald averaged 19 pages. Justice Karmeier was next at 18.43 pages, followed by Justice Freeman at 15.2 pages.  In 2011, Justice Garman again led, with her average majority opinion coming in at 21 pages.  Justice Karmeier averaged 19.33 pages, followed by Justice Thomas at 14.83 pages, Justice Freeman (11.14 pages), Chief Justice Kilbride (10.88 pages) and Justice Theis (10 pages).  In 2012, Justice Garman led, averaging 16.14 pages per majority opinion.  Justice Theis was next at 14 pages, but every remaining Justice averaged less than ten pages per majority opinion – Justice Burke (9.71 pages); Justice Karmeier (9.5 pages); Justice Thomas (8.67 pages); Chief Justice Kilbride (8.5 pages); and Justice Freeman (7.5 pages).  For 2013, Justice Theis led the Court, averaging 13.14 pages per majority opinion for criminal cases.  Justice Garman was next at 12.83 pages, followed by Justice Karmeier (11.29 pages) and Justice Burke (10 pages).  All the remaining Justices once again averaged below ten pages per majority.

For 2014, four of the seven Justices averaged more than ten pages per opinion – but just barely.  Justice Karmeier led the Court, averaging 15.5 pages per opinion.  Chief Justice Kilbride averaged 14 pages, followed by Chief Justice Garman (11.57 pages), Justice Freeman (10.17 pages), Justice Thomas (9.67 pages), Justice Theis (9.5 pages) and Justice Burke (9 pages).  Last year, opinions edged up slightly, but remained quite short.  Justice Thomas led the Court, averaging 14.67 pages per majority opinion in criminal cases.  Justice Theis was next, averaging 13.2 pages.  They were followed by Justices Karmeier (13 pages), Kilbride (12.6 pages), Burke (11.6 pages), and Chief Justice Garman (10.25 pages).  Justice Freeman wrote the shortest majority opinions in criminal cases last year, averaging only 7.25 pages.

Table 395

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to a new question in our continuing study of the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision making.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Phil Roeder (no changes).

Tracking the Justices’ Majority Opinions in Civil Cases, 2010-2015

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For the past few weeks, we’ve been tracking the Justices’ individual majority opinions, looking at whether any of the Justices tend to write longer (or shorter) majority opinions.  Today, we’ve reached the majority opinions in the Court’s civil cases between 2010 and 2015.

We begin as usual by reviewing the number of majority opinions written by each Justice in each year.  In 2010, Justice Karmeier led the Court with eight majority opinions in civil cases.  Justice Burke was next, writing six majority opinions.  Chief Justice Fitzgerald and Justice Thomas were next, with each writing five majorities.  In 2011, Justices Burke and Thomas led, writing seven majority opinions apiece.  Justices Garman, Freeman and Theis wrote six each.  For 2012, Justice Freeman wrote seven majority opinions in civil cases.  Justices Garman, Thomas and Theis wrote six majority opinions each.  Justices Burke and Karmeier wrote five majority opinions apiece.  For 2013, Justices Burke and Karmeier led, with each writing seven majority opinions in civil cases.  Justice Thomas wrote six opinions and Justice Garman and Justice Theis wrote five apiece.  The following year, Justice Burke led the Court, writing six majority opinions in civil cases.  Justices Thomas and Theis wrote five each, and Justices Freeman, Kilbride and Karmeier wrote three apiece.  Finally, in 2015, Justice Karmeier led with nine majority opinions in civil cases.  Justices Freeman, Thomas and Theis were next, writing seven majorities apiece.  Justice Burke wrote six opinions, and Justice Kilbride wrote five.

Table 392

We address the average length of each Justice’s opinions in Table 393 below.  For the past six years, the data suggests that no Justice tends to write, year after year, longer or shorter majority opinions.  For 2010, Justice Garman led the Court, averaging 21.33 pages per majority opinion.  Justice Karmeier was next at 18 pages, followed by Chief Justice Fitzgerald at 16 and Justice Thomas at 15.6 pages.  For 2011, Justice Garman once again led the Court, but averaging only 15.67 pages per majority opinion.  Justice Theis averaged 15.5 pages, and Justice Thomas averaged 14.71 pages.  Justice Burke was next, averaging 12.14 pages.

Majority opinions were quite short in 2012.  Justice Theis led the Court, but averaged only 14.83 pages per majority opinion.  Justice Garman was next at 12.67 pages, followed by Justice Karmeier (12 pages), Justice Thomas (10.67 pages) and Justice Burke (10 pages).  For 2013, the average opinion was up a bit, as Justice Kilbride – historically, one of the shorter opinion-writers on the Court – led with an average of 15 pages per majority opinion.  Justice Thomas was next at 12.67 pages, followed by Justices Karmeier and Garman at 12 pages and Justice Burke at 9.86 pages.  In 2014, Justice Kilbride once again led the Court, averaging 15 pages for his majority opinions.  Justice Thomas averaged 14.6 pages.  Justice Freeman was at 12.67 pages, Justice Burke was at 12.5 pages, Justice Theis averaged 11 pages, and Justice Garman averaged 10 pages.  Last year, Justice Karmeier led the Court, averaging 15.44 pages for his majority opinions in civil cases.  Justice Thomas was next, averaging 14.14 pages, followed by Justice Garman (14 pages), Justice Burke (13.67 pages), Justice Kilbride (12.6 pages) and Justice Freeman (12.14 pages).

Table 393

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal opinions between 2010 and 2015.

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Tracking the Justices’ Majority Opinions in Criminal Cases, 2005-2009

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Last week, we began analyzing the Justices’ individual records, tracking whether any Justices tended to write longer or shorter majority opinions than other Justices do.  Today, we address the Court’s criminal opinions between 2005 and 2009.

In Table 390, we review the distribution of majority opinions between 2005 and 2009 in the criminal docket.  Chief Justice McMorrow and Justices Freeman and Thomas led the Court in 2005, writing nine majority opinions each on the criminal side.  Justices Garman, Kilbride, Karmeier and Fitzgerald each wrote seven majorities that year.  For 2006, Justice Fitzgerald led the Court with ten majority opinions.  Justice Kilbride wrote eight and Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Garman and Karmeier wrote seven apiece.  In 2007, Justice Freeman led the Court, writing five majority opinions in criminal cases.  Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Burke, Garman, Kilbride and Karmeier wrote four majority opinions each.  The following year, Justices Burke, Garman, Karmeier and Fitzgerald each wrote eight majority opinions in criminal cases.  Chief Justice Thomas and Justice Freeman wrote seven opinions.  For 2009, the opinions were once again evenly distributed: Justice Freeman wrote eight majorities.  Chief Justice Fitzgerald and Justices Burke, Garman, Kilbride and Thomas wrote seven apiece.

Table 390

We report the average length of the Justices’ majority opinions in Table 391.  Chief Justice McMorrow, who tended during this period to write somewhat longer civil opinions, was in the middle of the pack among criminal cases, averaging 18 pages in 2005 and only 14 in 2006.  Justice Burke’s criminal majority opinions averaged ten pages in 2006, 21.25 in 2007, 15.38 in 2008 and 11.71 pages in 2009.  Justice Garman was generally above the court-wide average in her opinions, averaging 16.86 pages in 2005, 22.71 pages in 2006, 26.25 pages in 2007 before falling to 17.75 pages in 2008 and 21.71 pages in 2009.

Justice Freeman’s criminal opinions were at or slightly below the court-wide average, at 14.22 pages in 2005, 15.83 pages in 2006, 19.6 pages in 2007, 18 pages in 2008 and 14.13 pages in 2009.  Justice Thomas was around the court-wide average as well: 15.67 pages in 2005, 21.29 page in 2006, 16.25 pages in 2007, 13.57 pages in 2008 and 18.57 pages in 2009.  Justice Kilbride was generally below the court-wide average on the criminal side, averaging 13.43 pages in 2005, 14.25 in 2006 and only 9.5 pages in 2007.  His opinions increased to 17 pages in 2008, but were down to 12.71 pages in 2009.  Justice Karmeier was one of the longer writers on the Court in criminal cases during these years, averaging 27 pages in 2005, 16.14 pages in 2006, 34 pages in 2007, 13.13 pages in 2008 and 25 pages in 2009.  Finally, Chief Justice Fitzgerald’s criminal majority opinions were consistently around the court-wide average: 16.43 pages in 2005, 15.5 in 2007, 15.25 in 2008 and 19.43 in 2009.  Chief Justice Fitzgerald’s opinions spiked in only one year, averaging 24.2 pages in 2006.

Table 391

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn to the Court’s civil and criminal opinions between 2010 and 2015.

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Tracking the Justices’ Majority Opinions in Civil Cases, 2005-2009

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Last week, we turned our attention to the individual Justices’ records, analyzing whether any of the Justices tend to consistently write either longer or shorter majority opinions than other members of the Court do.  Today, we turn our attention to the Court’s civil opinions between 2005 and 2009.

In Table 388, we review the data on the distribution of majority opinions in civil cases.  In 2005, Justices Thomas and Garman led the Court, writing nine majority opinions in civil cases.  Chief Justice McMorrow was next with seven civil majority opinions.  In 2006, Justices Fitzgerald and Karmeier led the Court, writing ten civil majorities apiece.  Justice Garman was next with seven, followed by Justice McMorrow with six.  For 2007, Justice Fitzgerald led with nine majority opinions in civil cases.  Justice Burke wrote six, and Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Kilbride and Karmeier wrote four each.  In 2008, Justice Freeman led with eight majority opinions in civil cases, followed by Justices Garman and Kilbride with seven apiece and Justice Burke with six.  Finally, in 2009 Justice Garman led the Court, writing eight majority opinions in civil cases.  Chief Justice Fitzgerald and Justices Burke and Freeman were tied for second, with each Justice writing six majority opinions.

Table 388

We report the average length of each Justices’ majority opinions, year by year, in Table 389 below.  Chief Justice McMorrow was once again among the longer writers on the Court, with her civil opinions averaging 30.29 pages in 2005 and 23 pages in 2006.  Justice Burke’s civil majority opinions averaged 21 pages in 2006, but declined to 16.33 pages in 2007, 10.5 pages in 2008 and 13 pages in 2009.  Justice Garman’s opinions were slightly above the court-wide average: 22.33 pages in 2005, 20.43 pages in 2006, 18 in 2007, 19.86 in 2008 and 15.38 pages in 2009.  Justice Freeman’s opinions were comparable to Justice Garman’s: 19.6 pages in 2005, 19.4 in 2006, 21.33 in 2007, 17 pages in 2008 and 15.67 pages in 2009.  Justice Kilbride continued to write some of the Court’s shorter opinions on the civil side, averaging 14.5 pages in 2005, 18.5 in 2006, 16.5 in 2007, 14.29 in 2008 and 13.4 pages in 2009.

Once again, Justice Thomas’ opinions followed no consistent pattern: longer than the court-wide average in some years, shorter in others.  In 2005, Justice Thomas’ civil majorities averaged 16.56 pages.  The next year, his opinions fell to 12.83 pages.  For 2007, Justice Thomas’ average on the civil side increased to 23.75 pages.  The next year, he averaged 18 pages per majority opinion, and for 2009, his opinions averaged 29 pages.  Similarly, Justice Karmeier averaged 16 pages on the civil side in 2005, but was up to 28.7 pages in 2006.  For 2007 and 2008, Justice Karmeier’s opinions grew shorter: 19.75 pages in 2007 and 16.5 pages in 2008.  Chief Justice Fitzgerald was consistently around the court-wide average.  His civil majority opinions averaged 14.75 pages in 2005.  He averaged 20.8 pages in 2006, but fell to 17.67 pages in 2007.  His average increased to 19.8 pages in 2008, but his average opinion fell to 15.5 pages in 2009.

Table 389

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Justices’ majority opinions in criminal cases between 2005 and 2009.

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Tracking the Justices’ Majority Opinions in Criminal Cases, 2000-2004

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Yesterday, we began our analysis of the individual Justices’ track records with respect to majority opinions, beginning with civil opinions between 2000 and 2004.  Today, we compare that data to the Justices’ opinions in criminal cases during the same years.

Once again, we begin by reviewing the data we first reported a few weeks ago – which Justices wrote the most opinions?  In 2000, Justice McMorrow led the Court with sixteen criminal majority opinions, and Justices Heiple and Rathje wrote 13 apiece.  In 2001, Justice Freeman led with twelve majorities, and Justice McMorrow wrote ten.  In 2002, Justice Fitzgerald wrote thirteen majority opinions in criminal cases, and Chief Justice McMorrow and Justice Freeman wrote eleven apiece.  For 2003, Justice Fitzgerald was the most frequent voice of the Court in criminal cases by a wide margin, writing thirteen opinions.  The next year, Justices Garman and Rarick led, writing eleven and ten majority opinions each.

Table 386

We report the data on the average length of the Justices’ majority opinions in Table 387 below.  Justice McMorrow, who tended to write slightly longer-than-average civil majority opinions between 2000 and 2003, was much more variable on the criminal side.  Her criminal majority opinions averaged 31.13 pages in 2000, but only 16.4 in 2001; 23.09 in 2002, 17.13 in 2003 and 25.29 in 2004.  Justice Miller’s criminal majority opinions in 2000 were similar in length to his civil opinions, averaging 11.7 pages.  For 2001, his majority opinions averaged 16 pages.  Just as was true on the civil side, Justice Garman’s average varied widely, averaging 15.75 pages in 2001, 23.11 in 2002, 15.13 in 2003 and only 10.36 in 2004.  Justice Freeman’s data is similar: he averaged 23.4 pages in 2000 and 20 in 2001, but 14.36 in 2002, 18.43 in 2003 and 17.25 in 2004.  Justice Heiple’s opinions were comparatively short on the criminal side (just as they were on the civil side), averaging 10.92 pages.  Justice Kilbride’s opinions tended to be short on the civil side, and the data on the criminal side is similar: he averaged nine pages in 2001, 14 in 2002, 10.5 in 2003 and 11.5 in 2004.

Justice Rathje’s majority opinions in criminal cases were somewhat longer than his civil opinions, averaging 15.31 pages in 2001.  Justice Thomas averaged 17.56 pages in 2001, but got shorter each year following: 15.56 pages in 2002, 13.5 in 2003, 11.43 pages in 2004.  Chief Justice Harrison’s criminal opinions tended to be quite short, averaging 12.67 pages in 2000, 7.83 pages in 2001 and only 3 pages in 2002.  Justice Rarick averaged 13 pages in 2002, 13.6 pages in 2003 and 20.4 pages in 2004.  Justice Bilandic’s eleven majority opinions on the criminal side in 2000 averaged comparatively long: 25.36 pages.  Justice Fitzgerald’s majority opinions were comparable in length to his civil opinions: 18.11 pages in 2001, 14 pages in 2002, 12.69 pages in 2003 and 15.8 in 2004.

Reviewing the data for the entire period, Chief Justice McMorrow was consistently among the Court’s leaders in mean length of criminal majority opinions.  Justice Bilandic wrote several lengthy majority opinions in 2000.  Justices Freeman, Garman and Thomas showed no consistent pattern, sometimes averaging longer opinions, sometimes shorter.  Chief Justice Harrison and Justice Kilbride tended to write shorter majority opinions in criminal cases.

Table 387

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to the Court’s majority opinions between 2005 and 2009.

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Tracking the Justices’ Majority Opinions in Civil Cases, 2000-2004

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Today, we begin a new area in our analysis of the individual Justices’ records.  Do any of the Justices tend to write longer (or shorter) majority opinions, and how do the majority opinions in civil cases compare to the criminal majorities?  We begin by considering the civil opinions between 2000 and 2004.

For context, we repeat the Justice-by-Justice number of civil majority opinions in Table 384 below.  In 2000, Chief Justice Harrison and Justices Bilandic and Miller led the Court with seven majority opinions.  In 2001, Justice McMorrow was far ahead of the other Justices, writing eleven majority opinions in civil cases.  The next year, Justice Kilbride wrote ten, Justices Freeman and Fitzgerald eight apiece and Justice Garman seven.  In 2003, Justices Freeman and Kilbride led with eight majority opinions each, and Justices Thomas and Rarick were next with seven apiece.  In 2004, Justices Fitzgerald and Rarick led the Court with nine majority opinions apiece, and Justices Garman and Freeman were next with eight each.

Table 384

In Table 385, we report the year-by-year mean length of each Justice’s majority opinions in civil cases.  We would expect, simply as a matter of differing writing styles, for certain Justices to average at least somewhat longer opinions than others, and there are signs of that in the data.  Chief Justice McMorrow averaged 21.4 pages for her civil majority opinions in 2000, 19.27 pages the next year, 18.83 pages in 2002 and 19.5 pages in 2003, before falling to 13.4 pages in 2004.  Justice Miller’s opinions were far shorter, averaging 10.14 pages in 2000 and 9.67 pages in 2001.  Justice Garman’s opinions varied from year to year, averaging 11.75 pages in 2001, 19.57 in 2002, 11 pages in 2003 and 21.13 pages in 2004.  Justice Freeman’s opinions varied from year to year as well: 15.67 pages in 2000, 11.5 in 2001, 16.13 in 2002, 12.38 in 2003 and 19 pages in 2004.  Justice Heiple’s four civil majority opinions in 2000 averaged 6 pages in length.  Justice Kilbride’s majority opinions during this period were quite consistent in length – 12.8 pages in 2002, 13 pages in 2003 and 13.86 pages in 2004.  Justice Rathje’s five majority opinions in 2000 averaged 8.2 pages.  Justice Thomas’ majority opinions in civil cases varied from year to year, averaging 17 pages in 2001, 12.4 in 2002, 17.57 in 2003 and 14.4 in 2004.  Chief Justice Harrison’s opinions tended to be somewhat shorter, averaging only 7.14 pages in 2000 and 10.25 in 2002.  Justice Rarick averaged 15.14 pages in 203 and 12.22 in 2004.  Justice Bilandic’s seven majority opinions in civil cases in 2000 averaged 15 pages.  Finally, Justice Fitzgerald averaged 16.63 pages in 2002, 13.5 in 2003 and 15 in 2004.

Comparing the data to the court-wide averages, we see indications that trends in individual Justices’ writing may not hold for more than a few years at a time.  Chief Justice McMorrow’s averages were longer than the overall Court from 2000 to 2003, but shorter in 2004.  Justices Garman, Freeman and Thomas were each above the court-wide average in some years and below it in others.  Justices Miller, Heiple, Rathje and Chief Justice Harrison averaged at least a bit below the overall average for the most part.

Table 385

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal majority opinions between 2000 and 2004.

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Which Justices Most Often Voted With the Majority in Criminal Cases (Part 2 – 2008-2015)?

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Yesterday, we reviewed the frequency with which the Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court voted in the majority in divided civil cases between 2008 and 2015. Today, we turn our attention to the Court’s non-unanimous criminal cases for the same years.

We report the data in Table 383 below.  In 2008, Justice Fitzgerald led the Court with eight votes in the majority in non-unanimous criminal cases.  Justices Garman and Karmeier joined the majority six times each, Justice Burke did so five times, and Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Kilbride and Freeman did so four times apiece.  For 2009, Chief Justice Fitzgerald led the Court, voting with the majority thirteen times.  Justices Karmeier and Garman were next with eleven and Justices Kilbride and Thomas had nine each.  Justice Burke voted with the majority eight times, and Justice Freeman did so six times.  The following year, Justices Kilbride and Thomas led with thirteen majority votes apiece.  Chief Justice Fitzgerald and Justice Garman joined the majority twelve times apiece.  Justice Karmeier voted with the majority eleven times, Justice Freeman did so five times and Justice Burke three.

In 2011, Chief Justice Kilbride and Justice Theis were tied with ten majority votes apiece in criminal cases, leading the Court.  Justices Garman, Thomas and Karmeier did so seven times apiece, and Justices Burke and Freeman voted with the majority four times each.  For 2012, Justices Garman, Thomas and Karmeier led the Court with nine majority votes each.  Justice Theis joined the majority eight times.  Justice Burke voted with the majority six times, and Chief Justice Kibride and Justice Freeman did so five times apiece.  The next year, Chief Justice Kilbride and Justice Thomas led the Court, voting in the majority twelve times apiece.  Justices Garman and Karmeier joined the majority eleven times apiece, and Justice Freeman did so ten times.  Justices Burke and Theis voted with the majority eight times each.

For 2014, Chief Justice Garman and Justices Kilbride, Thomas and Karmeier led the Court, with each joining the majority six times in non-unanimous criminal cases.  Justices Freeman and Theis voted with the majority five times, and Justice Burke did so four times.  Last year, voting was once again evenly distributed, as Chief Justice Garman and Justices Thomas, Karmeier and Theis each voted with the majority five times.  Justice Kilbride voted with the majority four times, and Justices Burke and Kilbride joined the majority in non-unanimous criminal cases three times.

Table 383

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to another question in our ongoing analysis of the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision making.

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Which Justices Most Often Voted With the Majority in Civil Cases (Part 2 – 2008-2015)?

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Last week, we turned our attention to tracking how often each Justice voted with the majority in cases in which the Court reached a divided decision.  In Part 1 of our series, we addressed the years 2000 through 2007.  Today, we turn our attention to the Court’s civil docket between 2008 and 2015.

In Table 382 below, we show for each Justice the number of non-unanimous civil cases in which he or she voted with the majority.  Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Fitzgerald, Freeman and Garman led the Court in 2008, with each voting nine times in the majority.  Justice Karmeier voted with the majority eight times.  Justice Burke voted with the majority seven times, and Justice Kilbride did so five times.  In 2009, Chief Justice Fitzgerald led the Court with eight majority votes.  Justices Burke, Freeman, Kilbride and Thomas each voted with the majority six times.  Justice Garman did so five times, and Justice Karmeier four times.  The next year, Chief Justice Fitzgerald and Justice Thomas led with eight majority votes apiece in civil cases.  Justice Karmeier had seven, Justice Garman five, and Justices Burke, Freeman and Kilbride four apiece. Justice Theis, who joined the Court late in the year upon the retirement of Chief Justice Fitzgerald, voted with the majority once in 2010.  In 2011, Justices Burke, Garman, Thomas and Karmeier each voted with the majority eight times in non-unanimous civil cases.  Justice Theis voted with the majority six times, Justice Freeman five times and Chief Justice Kilbride three times.

In 2012, the Court began a two-year dip in its unanimity rate.  Justice Burke led the Court, voting with the majority eighteen times in non-unanimous civil decisions.  Justice Freeman did so seventeen times, and Justices Garman, Karmeier and Theis fifteen each.  Justice Thomas voted with the majority thirteen times, and Chief Justice Kilbride eight.  In 2013, Justices Garman and Theis were tied for the lead with thirteen majority votes apiece in divided civil cases.  Justices Freeman, Thomas and Karmeier voted with the majority eleven times apiece, Justice Burke nine times and Chief Justice Kilbride six times.

The following year, Justices Thomas and Karmeier led the Court, each voting with the majority six times.  Chief Justice Garman joined the majority five times in non-unanimous civil cases.  Justice Theis did so four times, and Justices Burke, Freeman and Kilbride voted with the majority three times. Finally, in 2015, Chief Justice Garman voted with the majority nine times in non-unanimous civil cases.  Justice Theis was next at eight.  Justices Thomas and Karmeier joined the majority seven times apiece, Justice Burke did so six times, Justice Freeman five and Justice Kilbride three times.

Table 382

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal docket between 2008 and 2015.

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Which Justices Most Often Voted With the Majority in Criminal Cases (Part 1 – 2000-2007)?

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Yesterday, we turned our attention to determining which Justices most often voted with the majority in non-unanimous civil decisions between 2000 and 2007.  Today, we address the same question for non-unanimous criminal cases.

The Court decided an unusually high number of non-unanimous criminal cases in 2000, so the Table shows spikes that year across the board. Justice Bilandic led the Court, voting with the majority fifty-six times in non-unanimous criminal cases.  Justice Rathje was next, voting with the majority fifty-three times.  Justices Miller and Freeman were with the majority fifty-one times, Justice Heiple 49 and Justice McMorrow 46.  Chief Justice Harrison voted with the majority only 24 times in non-unanimous criminal cases that year.  The following year, non-unanimous criminal decisions were down sharply.  Justice Fitzgerald led with twenty-three times in the majority.  Justice Freeman had twenty-two, Justice McMorrow twenty-one, Justice Thomas eighteen, Justice Kilbride fifteen, Justice Garman thirteen, Chief Justice Harrison twelve and Justice Miller two.  In 2002, Justice Fitzgerald again led the Court, voting in the majority twenty-nine times.  Justice Freeman had twenty-eight majority votes.  Chief Justice McMorrow had twenty-seven, Justices Garman and Thomas had twenty-five apiece, and Justice Kilbride had thirteen.  Chief Justice Harrison and Justice Rarick voted with the majority five times.  In 2003, Justice Freeman once again led the Court, voting with the majority twenty-eight times.  Justices McMorrow and Freeman were in the majority twenty-five times.  Justice Rarick was in the majority twenty-four times.  Justices Garman and Thomas voted with the majority thirteen times apiece, and Justice Kilbride voted with the majority eight times.

For 2004, Chief Justice McMorrow led the Court, voting in the majority twelve times.  Justices Freeman and Rarick were next, each voting in the majority eleven times.  Justice Kilbride voted with the majority ten times, Justice Fitzgerald nine times, Justice Garman eight, Justice Thomas six and Justice Karmeier once.  In 2005, Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Fitzgerald and Garman led the Court, with each voting in the majority nine times in non-unanimous criminal cases.  Justices McMorrow and Karmeier voted with the majority eight times apiece.  Justice Freeman voted with the majority six times and Justice Kilbride was with the majority three times.

For 2006, Chief Justice Thomas led the Court, voting with the majority fifteen times in non-unanimous criminal cases.  Justice Fitzgerald was next with fourteen.  Justices Karmeier and Garman were next, each voting with the majority thirteen times.  Justices Freeman and Kilbride voted with the majority eight times apiece in non-unanimous criminal cases, and Justice McMorrow did so six times.  For 2007, Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Garman and Fitzgerald each voted with the majority seven times in non-unanimous criminal cases.  Justice Karmeier was with the majority six times, Justices Burke and Freeman five each, and Justice Kilbride voted with the majority three times.

Table 381

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to voting with the majority in civil cases between 2008 and 2015.

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Which Justices Most Often Voted With the Majority in Civil Cases (Part 1 – 2000-2007)?

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Last week, we wrapped up our consideration of which Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court most often spoke for the Court in the majority opinion.  Today, we approach the issue of the individual Justices’ influence in another way: which Justices most often voted with the majority in non-unanimous cases?

The data for civil cases between 2000 and 2007 is reported in Table 380 below.  In 2000, Justice McMorrow led the Court, voting with the majority in fifteen cases.  Justices Miller and Heiple voted with the majority thirteen times. Justice Freeman voted with the majority twelve times, Justice Bilandic eleven, Justice Rathje ten and Chief Justice Harrison only seven.  The following year, Justice Fitzgerald led the Court, voting with the majority twelve times in non-unanimous civil cases.  Justice Thomas was next with ten.  Justice Garman voted with the majority nine times, Justices McMorrow, Freeman and Kilbride eight each, and Chief Justice Harrison voted with the majority seven times.  In 2002, Justices Garman, Freeman, Kilbride and Thomas led with thirteen civil cases apiece voting in the majority.  Chief Justice McMorrow and Justice Fitzgerald voted with the majority twelve times.  Chief Justice Harrison voted with the majority nine times, and Justice Rarick voted with the majority once.  In 2003, Justice Fitzgerald led the Court, voting with the majority in non-unanimous civil cases thirteen times.  Justice Freeman was next at twelve cases, Justice McMorrow voted with the majority eleven times, and Justice Rarick voted with the majority ten times.  Justice Thomas voted with the majority nine times and Justices Garman and Kilbride voted with the majority eight times each.

In 2004, Justice Thomas led, voting with the majority in fifteen cases.  Justices Freeman and Fitzgerald were next, voting with the majority thirteen times apiece.  Justice McMorrow voted with the majority twelve times, Justice Garman eleven times, Justice Kilbride ten times and Justice Rarick nine times.  In 2005, Justice Fitzgerald led, voting with the majority nine times.  Justices McMorrow and Garman voted with the majority eight times.  Chief Justice Thomas voted with the majority seven times, Justice Freeman six times, and Justices Kilbride and Karmeier five each.  Justice Fitzgerald led again in 2006, voting with the majority nineteen times in non-unanimous civil cases.  Justice Freeman was next, voting with the majority seventeen times.  Justices Kilbride and Karmeier voted with the majority fifteen times.  Justice Thomas voted with the majority fourteen times, Justice Garman thirteen times, Justice McMorrow ten and Justice Burke twice.  In 2007, Justices Freeman and Fitzgerald led the Court, voting with the majority eight times in non-unanimous civil cases.  Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Burke, Garman and Kilbride voted with the majority six times apiece, and Justice Karmeier voted with the majority in non-unanimous civil cases three times.

Table 380

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Justices who most often voted with the majority in criminal cases between 2000 and 2007.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Doug Kerr (no changes).

 

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