Yesterday, we continued our close look at the Justices’ writing during our second five year period with a review of the special concurrences between 2005 and 2009. Today, we turn to the Justices’ dissents.
Given that special concurrences are generally written to express at least mild disagreement with the majority’s views, it is not surprising to see Justices Kilbride and Freeman, the most frequent writers of concurrences, also leading the Court in dissents between 2005 and 2009. Indeed, fifty-seven percent of all the dissents on the Court in civil cases during this period were by these two Justices. Two of the Republican Justices, Justices Garman and Karmeier, dissented moderately often, but perhaps not quite as often as one might expect on a Court which still had a one-vote Democratic majority.
Just like special concurrences, dissents tended to be somewhat longer between 2005 and 2009. Justice Freeman continued to write slightly longer dissents on average than his colleagues (with the exception of Chief Justice McMorrow, who retired in 2006), with Justices Burke and Thomas averaging only slightly shorter dissents.
Next week, we’ll begin the final phase of our close review of the Justices’ writing by taking a close look at the majority opinions, special concurrences and dissents written in civil cases between 2010 and 2014.