Last week, we continued our analysis of the Illinois Supreme Court’s oral arguments in civil cases between 2008 and 2014. We reported the year-by-year data for each Justice’s questions in each segment of oral argument between 2008 and 2010. Today, we look at the yearly data for the past four years, 2011-2014.
For 2011, Justice Thomas asked the most questions of appellants (167), followed by Justice Burke (87). Justices Freeman, Theis, Karmeier and Chief Justice Garman were tightly bunched behind. Questions to appellees were more evenly distributed, with Justice Burke (95) only eight questions behind Justice Thomas (103). Chief Justice Garman was third, with Justices Theis, Karmeier, Kilbride and Freeman next. In rebuttals, Justice Karmeier was the second most frequent questioner (27) behind Justice Thomas (48). Justice Burke was next (20) followed by Justice Kilbride (15).
Patterns continued to shift in 2012. Justices Burke (73) and Freeman (72) were second and third in questions to appellants behind Justice Thomas (125). Justice Theis was close behind at 66. Justice Thomas led by a wide margin in questions to appellees with 205. Chief Justice Garman was next at 97, followed by Justice Kilbride at 73, Justice Burke at 68, Justice Theis at 59 and Justices Freeman and Karmeier at 53. As usual, questions during rebuttal were comparatively uncommon. Justices Thomas and Kilbride led the Court with 51 and 48 questions, respectively. Justices Karmeier and Burke were well behind at 16 and 13, with the three remaining Justices asking fewer than ten questions each during rebuttals.
In 2013, Justice Thomas (100) narrowly led Justice Theis in questions to appellants (92). Justice Burke was third (63), followed by Chief Justice Garman (52). Justices Burke (50), Karmeier (45), Theis (43) and Chief Justice Garman (49) were tightly bunched behind Justice Thomas (89) in questions to appellees. Justice Theis led the Court in questions during rebuttal, with 36 questions to Justice Thomas’ 33.
For 2014, Justice Thomas once again led in questions with appellants with 92. Justices Theis and Burke were next at 76 and 74, respectively, with Chief Justice Garman fourth at 49. Justice Burke was second behind Justice Thomas in questions to appellees, with Justice Theis third. Only Justices Thomas (35), Theis (19) and Burke (13) asked more than ten questions during rebuttals in 2014.
Tomorrow, we’ll compare the outcomes in the Court’s most recent nine civil decisions to the data on those cases’ oral arguments.