Reversal rates may conceal the true degree of disagreement on the Court with the decisions coming out of any particular District and division. Reversal is a binary variable: a 4-3 reversal affects a Court’s reversal rate as much as a 7-0 reversal does. Therefore, we revisit the data, calculating the average number of votes on the Supreme Court in favor of affirming the Appellate Court’s opinion. Once again, we report three-year floating averages:
Although little seems apparent from the record of the six divisions of the First District – not surprisingly, given that cases are assigned to the divisions randomly – several conclusions are apparent from the performance of other Districts of the Appellate Court. Until recent years, the Third District’s decisions have fared slightly better than those of the Second District. Especially in the last four years, the decisions of the Fourth District have fared reasonably well before the Court. But the civil decisions of the Fifth District have met a consistently chilly reception before the Court for the entire fifteen-year period of our study, frequently averaging less than two votes to affirm.
Next week, we’ll begin disaggregating the data on reversal rates by different areas of the law.