Last week, we began our intensive look at the voting dynamics at the Illinois Supreme Court in civil cases between 2005 and 2009. Today, we assess the results of our study of agreement rates by turning to the issue of swing voters. How often was each Justice in the majority when the Court was divided?
Again, the data largely confirms our tentative conclusions based on agreement rates. Justice Fitzgerald, Chief Justice Thomas and Justice Freeman were in the majority in eighty percent or more of all divided decisions. Justices Burke and Garman were only slightly behind.
Let’s disaggregate the data and take a look at the Court’s most common subject matter, tort law.
This table suggests a highly united Court in the area of tort law, with Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Freeman, Karmeier and Fitzgerald voting with the majority between eighty and ninety percent of the time in most years. Justice McMorrow and Justice Garman ranked only slightly behind, agreeing with the majority in between seventy and eighty percent of the Court’s tort cases.
Tomorrow, we’ll turn our attention to agreement rates during the final five years of our study period, 2010 through 2014.