We determined last time that there was relatively little connection between the rate of dissent at the Appellate Court and the likelihood of division at the Supreme Court in civil cases.  This time, we’re looking at criminal cases for the same years: 1990 through 2004.

The connection between dissent at the Appellate Court and Supreme Court was even weaker in criminal cases.  The rate of dissent at the Appellate Court was higher than division at the Supreme Court in only three of the fifteen years between 1990 and 2004: 1990-1991 and 2004.  On the other hand, in 1993, only 2.33% of criminal cases had a dissent below, while 16.28% had a divided vote at the Supreme Court.  The following year, the margin was 15.38% in Appellate Court dissent, 38.46% division at the Supreme Court.  In 1995, only 3.8% of cases had a dissent at the Appellate Court, while 40.51% had dissenters at the Supreme Court.  The following year, 1.9% of criminal cases had a dissent below, while 31.48% had a dissent at the Supreme Court.  In 1997, 9.5% at the Appellate Court to 39.68% at the Supreme Court.  In 1998, 6.9% at the Appellate Court to 30.56% at the Supreme Court.  The following year, 13.21% of criminal cases had a dissent below to 54.72% at the Supreme Court.  In 2000, only 6.98% of criminal cases had a dissent below, while 73.26% had a dissent at the Supreme Court.  In 2001, 8.6% at the Appellate Court, 39.66% at the Supreme Court.  In 2002, 10% at the Appellate Court, 45.71% at the Supreme Court.  In 2003, 13.85% at the Appellate Court, 46.15% at the Supreme Court.

Join us back here next week as we address the data for the years 2005 through 2020.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Gary Todd (no changes).

Today and next week, we turn our attention to a new issue – does dissent at the Appellate Court signal likely dissent at the Supreme Court?  We begin with the Court’s civil decisions between 1990 and 2004.

For the most part, the answer is no.  The dissent rate at the Appellate Court in the civil cases decided by the Supreme Court only exceeded the likelihood of a dissent at the Supreme Court in four of the fifteen years between 1990 and 2004: 1990-1991, 1995 and 2003.

For most of the rest of these years, dissent was considerably more common at the Supreme Court than it was at the Appellate Court in the court’s cases.  In 1992, 32.6% of the Court’s civil cases had a dissent to 22.8% of those cases below.  In 1993, the margin was fifteen percentage points, and in 1994, that grew to seventeen points.  In 1996, once again the margin between dissents at the Supreme Court and dissents in the same cases at the Appellate Court was seventeen points.  The following year, only 9.5% of the Court’s civil cases had a dissenter below, but 50.79% of those same cases had at least one dissenter at the Supreme Court.  The margin was nearly as great in 1998 – 15.49% at the Appellate Court, 52.11% division at the Supreme Court.  In 2000, 42.1% of cases were divided at the Supreme Court, while only 21.1% drew a dissent below.  In 2001, 7.8% had a dissent below to 25.49% at the Supreme Court.

Join us back here next time as we review the data for the years 1990 to 2004 on the criminal side of the docket.

Image courtesy of Flickr by David Wilson (no changes).

This time, we’re finishing our review of the data for amicus briefs and won-loss records overall for the years 2005 through 2020.

Appellants in insurance law cases won 58.82% of their cases to 41.18% for appellees.  Amici fared far worse – appellants’ amici won 20%, while appellees’ amici won only one-third.  In property law cases, appellants won 75% to 25% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici won all their cases; there were no appellees’ amici.

Appellants won 80% of cases involving secured transactions.  Appellants’ amici won only one-third of their cases, while appellees’ amici won all of their cases.  Appellants and appellees in tax cases evenly split their cases, 50-50.  Amici were the same: appellants’ amici 50%, appellees’ amici 50%.

In tort law cases, appellants won 63.16% during these years while appellees won 36.84%.  Appellants’ amici won far more often – 63.16% to 36.84% for appellees.  Appellants in wills and estates cases won two-thirds of all cases.  There were no appellants’ amici.  Appellees’ amici lost all their cases.

Appellants in workers’ comp cases won 52.38% to 47.62% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici won all their cases, while appellees’ amici won only 16.67%.

Join us back here later this week as we address a new issue.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Vivek Jena (no changes).

This week, we’re comparing the won-loss percentage for appellants’ and appellees’ amici by area of law to the won-loss overall for the years 2005 through 2020.

Appellants in arbitration cases won 60% of their cases.  Appellants’ amici won all their cases, while respondents’ amici won none of theirs.

Appellants in civil procedure cases won 63.1% of their cases to 36.9% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici won 76.19% of their cases, while appellees’ amici won only one-third.  In commercial law cases, appellants won 70% to 30% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici won all their cases.  There were no appellees’ amici in commercial law cases.

Appellants won 57.97% of their cases in constitutional law to 42.03% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici won 69.44% of their cases, while appellees’ amici won only 14.29%.

In domestic relations cases, appellants have won 62.86% of their cases to 37.14% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici have won 85.71% of their cases, while appellees’ amici have won only 28.57% of the time.  In election law cases, appellants have won 53.33% to 46.67% for appellees.  Appellees’ amici have lost all their cases.  There have been no appellants’ amici.

Appellants in election law cases won 53.33% of their cases to 46.67% for appellees.  Appellants in employment law cases won 70.59% of their cases to 29.41% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici won 71.43% of their cases to 16.67% for appellees’ amici.

Two-thirds of environmental law cases were won by appellees.  Appellants’ amici won all their cases, while appellees’ amici won none of theirs.  Appellants in government and administrative law cases won 46.39% to 53.61% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici, on the other hand, won 52.27% to 53.61% for appellees’ amici.

Join us back here next time as we review the rest of the data for these years.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Stevan Sheets (no changes).

This time, we’re continuing our trip through the amicus data, comparing winning percentage for appellants’ and appellees’ amici, one area of law at a time, to the overall winning percentage for each side in that area.

In workers compensation cases, appellants won 67.5% of the cases to 32.5% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici won 70% of their cases, while appellees’ amici lost all theirs.  Appellants in commercial law cases won 62.5% of their cases to 37.5% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici in commercial law cases won all their cases; appellees’ amici lost all theirs.

Appellants in insurance law cases won 62.26% of their cases to 37.74% for appellees.  Amici had similar records in insurance cases – appellants’ amici won 62.5%, while appellees’ amici won 62.96%.  In contract law cases, appellants and appellees evenly split the wins.  Appellants’ amici won all their cases, while appellees’ amici lost all theirs.

Appellants in property law cases won 83.33% of their cases to only 16.67% for appellees.  Amici evenly split – appellants’ amici won one-third of their cases, and appellees’ amici also won one-third of theirs.  In tax law, appellants won only 26.32% to 73.68% for appellees.  Neither appellants’ nor appellees’ amici won any of their cases.

In wills and estates cases, appellants won 44.44% to 55.56% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici won all their cases, but appellees’ amici lost all theirs.  It was the same way in election law – appellants’ amici won a clean sweep, while appellees’ amici lost them all.  In election law overall, appellants won 60% to 40% for appellees.

Join us back here later in the week as we continue our examination of the amicus data.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Dirk DBQ (no changes).

 

This week, we’re looking at another issue in our ongoing examination of the data regarding amicus briefs at the Supreme Court.  Specifically, we’ll be comparing the percentage of amicus briefs supporting appellants and respondents which wound up on the winning side to the winning percentage of appellants and respondents overall.

Of course, this comparison is subject to a major objection: post hoc ergo propter hoc (you always know you’re in trouble when the fallacy is so old that there’s a Latin name for it).  Just because amicus briefs in a certain area of law have a higher winning percentage than parties on that side overall doesn’t prove that amicus briefs are actually contributing to the win – amici might be attracted by a position that’s likely to win already.  So we’ll bookmark that issue for a future post . . .

For constitutional law appellants, amici did slightly worse than appellants overall, winning 57.14% of their cases as opposed to 63.55% for appellants overall.  Appellees’ amici won half the time, while appellees overall won 36.45% of their cases.  In environmental law, appellants’ amici won 75% of their cases, as opposed to only 54.55% overall.  Appellees’ amici lost every case during these years, while appellees overall won 45.45%.

In civil procedure cases, appellants’ amici won 70% of their cases.  Appellants overall won only 52.67%.  Appellees’ amici won half their cases, while appellees overall won 47.33%.  Appellants’ amici in cases involving government and administrative law won 73.33% of their cases, while appellants overall won 63.16%.  Appellees’ amici won only 13.33% of their cases.  Appellees overall won 36.84%.

In arbitration law, appellants’ amici won all their cases, while appellants overall won 60%.  Appellees’ amici won none of their cases, while appellees overall won 40%.  In tort law, appellants won 58.52% of their cases to 41.48% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici won 84.13% of their cases, while appellees’ amici won only 26.67%.

In domestic relations cases, appellants won 60.98% to 39.02% for appellees.  Appellants’ amici in domestic relations cases won 55.56% of their cases, while appellees’ amici won 39.02%.  Only 32% of employment law appellants won to 68% for appellees.  No amicus briefs in employment cases won during these years on either the appellants or appellees’ side.

Join us back here next time as we conclude our trip through the various areas of law, looking at the amicus winning percentage data.

Image courtesy of Flickr by David Wilson (no changes).

Appellants’ and appellees’ amici had similar won-lost records overall in criminal cases from 2010 to 2020 – appellants won two-thirds of the time, and appellees’ amici won 69.23% of their cases.

Amicus briefs remained very (very) rare in criminal cases over the past eleven years, however.  All appellants’ amici in criminal procedure, sentencing law and habeas corpus cases wound up on the winning side.  Appellants’ amici in juvenile justice cases won two-thirds of the time, while appellants’ amici in constitutional law cases won only one-third of their cases.

Appellees’ amici in con law cases, on the other hand, struck out, losing all their cases.  Appellees’ amici in mental health cases won their cases cases, while appellees’ amici in habeas corpus cases won 88.89% of the time.

Join us back here later this week as we continue our examination of the amicus data.

Image courtesy of Flickr by David Wilson (no changes).

Between 2010 and 2020, 212 amicus briefs have been filed at the Court in civil cases.  Briefs supporting appellants have been on the winning side in 71.43% of cases, while briefs supporting appellees have prevailed in only 29.07%.

All appellants’ amici in four subjects prevailed: workers compensation, commercial law, property law and environmental law.  87.88% of appellants’ amici in tort cases won and 80% of domestic relations and civil procedure appellants’ amici did.  Two-thirds won in constitutional law and employment law.  Only 53.13% of appellants’ amici in government and administrative law won and only half in tax law did.

None of the appellees’ amici in workers compensation, insurance or environmental law won.  Appellees’ amici in constitutional law were 0-16.  Leaving aside the two successful appellees’ amici in secured transactions, government and administrative law was next at a 66.67% success rate.  Half of the appellees’ amici in tax law won.  One-third did in civil procedure, domestic relations and employment law.  Only 26.09% of appellees’ amici in tort law wound up winning.

Join us back here next time as we review the data for criminal cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Gary Todd (no changes).

Only six amicus briefs were filed in criminal cases between 2000 and 2009.  Both appellants’ amici wound up winning their cases.  Three of four appellees’ amici prevailed as well.

Of the two winning appellants’ amici, one was in a criminal procedure case and one was in a case involving juvenile justice issues.  One amici supporting appellees in a violent crime case prevailed.  Two out of three amici supporting appellees in constitutional law cases prevailed as well.

Join us back here later this week as we review the data for the years 2010 through 2020.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Joseph Gage (no changes).

Between 2000 and 2009, 196 amicus briefs were filed in civil cases.  Appellants were far more likely to be on the winning side; appellants’ amici won 68% of the time (85 of 125 briefs) while appellees’ amici won only 36.62% of their cases (26 of 71).

Although in each case only a few briefs were filed, appellants’ amici were undefeated during these years in arbitration cases, workers compensation, commercial law, wills & estates and election law.  Appellants’ amici in constitutional law cases won 80% of the time.  Appellants’ amici in tort cases won 75.56%.  Employment law appellants’ amici won 75% of their cases.  Appellants’ amici in civil procedure cases won 73.33% of the time.  Appellants’ amici in domestic relations cases won only 60% of their cases, while appellants’ amici in government and administrative law cases won only 52.63%.  Appellants’ amici in insurance law, property law and tax law cases won less than half their cases.

Appellees’ amici lost all their cases in six areas of law – arbitration, domestic relations, employment law, commercial law, tax law and wills & estates law.  Appellees’ amici won two-thirds of their cases in constitutional law, government and administrative law and insurance law.  Appellees’ amici won half the time in workers compensation cases, but only won one-quarter of their cases in civil procedure.  Appellees’ amici in tort cases – the most common area of law for appellees’ filings – won only 19.23% of their cases.

Join us back here later today as we look at the criminal law data for the same years.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ken Lund (no changes).