With one seat on the Court switching from Democratic to Republican hands as a result of the 2004 election, a centrist majority of Chief Justice Thomas, Garman and Karmeier began to emerge, often joined by Justice Fitzgerald. As a result, with the exception of 2006 (when the unanimity rate abruptly dipped to 57.4%), the Court consistently decided between seventy and eighty percent of its cases unanimously between 2005 and 2009.
Chief Justice Thomas and Justice Garman remained closely aligned in their voting patterns throughout this second five-year period, their agreement rate drifting downwards only slightly. (87.9%; 82.9%; 75% and 78.8%.) Chief Justice Thomas and Justice Fitzgerald’s agreement rates were similar. (83.3%; 85%; 83.9%; 71.4%.) The agreement rate between Justices Fitzgerald and Garman was only slightly less. (69.4%; 80%; 82.4%; 68.4%.)
Join us back here tomorrow, and we’ll consider the agreement rates among the remaining members of the Court between 2005 and 2009.