During this final study period, the Court continued to reverse liberal tort decisions from the Appellate Court at a significantly higher rate than conservative ones in the fields of tort, civil procedure and government/administrative law. The Court has been quite skeptical of constitutional claims as well, reversing two-thirds of liberal Appellate Court decisions in that arena, while disturbing very few conservative decisions. The Court has heard only two liberal Appellate Court decisions involving issues of insurance law, but in both cases, the Court has reversed. In contrast, the Court’s reversal rate for liberal insurance law decisions has been very much in line with the Court’s general patterns.
Our review suggests that the interest in court-by-court reversal rates may obscure more interesting trends. During the fifteen years we studied, the Court has accepted significantly more liberal decisions than conservative ones in the fields of tort, insurance law and government and administrative law. The Court has reversed liberal decisions at a significantly higher rate in the fields of tort, constitutional law, insurance and government and administrative law. On the other hand, the Court has reversed conservative decisions significantly more often in the fields of domestic relations and workers compensation.
Next week, we’ll turn to an entirely different subject: the length of the Court’s opinions.