Last time we began investigating whether the Illinois Supreme Court often accepts summary judgments for review on its civil docket, since (at least in theory), such cases present cleaner, purely legal issues for review.
Now we turn to a slightly different issue. Since summary judgments should present clear legal issues with little room for factual disputes, one might expect them to spark somewhat less disagreement among the members of the Court. To investigate this issue, we divide the summary judgments in our last post into cases decided unanimously by the Court, and cases which drew dissenters:
Table 4B only partially supports our hypothesis. During most of the first ten years of the study period, appeals from summary judgments did indeed form a large proportion of the Court’s unanimous decisions than of the non-unanimous ones. But in more recent years, there are indications that that pattern may be reversing itself.
In our next post, we’ll turn to another series of questions: where in the state do the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil cases come from?