Last week, we resumed our Justice-by-Justice look at the patterns of questions in oral argument, searching for evidence as to whether questioning signals a Justice’s likely vote and whether or not he or she is writing an opinion. Today, we conclude our consideration of Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, looking at whether he is more likely to ask the first question of either side, depending on his vote and whether or not he is writing in a case.
In Table 98 below, we report the data for cases in which Justice Karmeier votes with the majority. Overall, it is not especially common for Justice Karmeier to ask the first question of either side. However, we see that writing the majority opinion has a distinct impact on that likelihood. For example, when Justice Karmeier is writing a majority opinion reversing, he is more than twice as likely to ask the first question of the appellant than when he is not writing. Although he seldom asks the first question of appellees in such cases, the likelihood is more than four times as great when he’s writing the majority opinion than when he’s not. The effect is similar when Justice Karmeier joins the majority in affirming. When he’s writing the opinion, he asks the first question of the appellant more than half the time, and of the appellee, in exactly one of every three cases. Both of these numbers are considerably less in cases where Justice Karmeier is not writing an opinion.
In Table 99 below, we report the data on cases in which Justice Karmeier is in the minority. We see that writing a dissent has no impact at all on the likelihood of Justice Karmeier asking the first question. Although Justice Karmeier is far more likely to ask the first question when he disagrees with the majority, he has never led off the questioning in a civil case where he wrote a dissent, as opposed to joining another Justice’s dissent.
Join us back here tomorrow as we begin our analysis of the questioning patterns of Justice Mary Jane Theis.