Last week, we reviewed the data from Justice Theis’ participation in oral arguments in civil cases since she joined the Court in 2010. This week, we turn our attention to Justice Theis’ record in criminal oral arguments.
Justice Theis voted with the majority in 84 criminal affirmances and 102 criminal reversals. She wrote the majority opinion in fourteen criminal affirmances. She wrote concurrences in two affirmances, and voted with the majority while not writing in 68 affirmances. Justice Theis wrote the majority opinion in fifteen criminal reversals, wrote two special concurrences, and didn’t write while voting with the majority in a reversal in 85 cases.
In criminal affirmances, Justice Theis tended to ask more questions of the losing party – 2.85 questions to appellants, 1.42 questions to appellees. Writing the majority opinion had a significant impact. When writing the majority, Justice Theis averaged 4.43 questions to appellants and 2.57 to appellees. When writing the concurrence, Justice Theis averaged 4.5 questions to appellants and 3.0 to appellees. When not writing in an affirmance, Justice Theis averaged 2.47 questions to appellants and 1.13 to appellees.
When voting with the majority in a reversal, Justice Theis averaged more questions to the appellants – 2.59 questions to appellants, 2.18 to appellees. Writing the majority opinion had very little impact on Justice Theis’ patterns in reversals; she averaged 2.33 questions apiece to appellants and appellees. In the small number of concurrences in criminal reversals, Justice Theis averaged 10.5 questions to appellants and 0.5 to appellees. When not writing an opinion in reversals, Justice Theis averaged 2.39 questions to appellants and 2.19 to appellees.
When Justice Theis voted with the minority in criminal affirmances, she averaged more questions to the party she voted against than the party who lost. She averaged 0.5 questions to appellants, four questions to appellees. Justice Theis didn’t write any dissents in criminal affirmances.
When Justice Theis voted with the minority in criminal reversals, she averaged five questions to appellants and none to appellees. Although she wrote one dissent from a criminal reversal, she asked no questions in that case. When not writing an opinion in a criminal reversal, she averaged 10 questions to appellants and none to appellees.
Join us back here tomorrow as we wrap up our analysis of Justice Theis’ question patterns in oral arguments 2010-2016.