Last week, we took a close look at the individual Justices’ special concurrences and dissents in civil cases between 2005 and 2009. Today, we turn to the opinions written by the Justices during the most recent five years of our study period, 2010-2014.
Justice Burke was the most frequent voice of the Court during the most recent five years, followed by Justices Thomas and Karmeier. Justice Theis wrote 22 majority opinions after joining the Court in late 2010, following Chief Justice Fitzgerald’s retirement. The least frequent authors of majority opinions during this final five year period were current Chief Justice Garman, Justice Kilbride, who served as Chief from 2010 through 2013, and Chief Justice Fitzgerald.
As we noted earlier, the Court’s majority opinions trended somewhat shorter during this most recent five year period. For example, the three-year floating average of Justice Freeman’s civil opinions is only half today what it was in 2010. With the exception of Justice Burke – whose opinions tended to be the shortest on the Court at the outset of the period – every other Justice is writing shorter opinions as well.
Tomorrow, we’ll turn to the Justices’ special concurrences between 2010 and 2014.