For the past two weeks, we’ve been reviewing the patterns in Chief Justice Fitzgerald’s questioning in civil and criminal cases between 2008 and his retirement in 2010. This week, we review the question patterns of his successor, Justice Mary Jane Theis.
Justice Theis voted with the majority in 73 civil affirmances and 105 civil reversals. She wrote the majority opinion in 11 affirmances and 21 reversals. She wrote no concurrences in civil affirmances, but wrote concurrences in two reversals.
Overall, Justice Theis has averaged 3.85 questions to appellants in affirmances (the losing party), and 1.19 questions to appellees. When writing the majority opinion in affirmances, she averages 9.82 questions to appellants but only 1.55 to appellees. When not writing an opinion, Justice Theis has averaged 2.79 to appellants in affirmances, and 1.13 questions to appellees.
Justice Theis has averaged slightly more questions to appellants in reversals as well – 2.16 questions to appellants, 1.81 to appellees. Writing the majority opinion has a substantial impact, as Justice Theis has averaged 3.38 questions to appellants and 3.14 to appellees. When writing a concurrence, Justice Theis has averaged four questions to appellants and five to appellees. When not writing an opinion in a reversal, Justice Theis has averaged 1.8 questions to appellants and 1.39 to appellees.
When voting in the minority of an affirmance, Justice Theis averages more questions to the party she is voting against than to the party who actually loses the case – 0.4 questions to appellants, 2.6 questions to appellees. Justice Theis has asked no questions in the two cases where she voted in the minority of an affirmance and wrote a dissent. When not writing and voting in the minority of an affirmance, Justice Theis has averaged 0.67 questions to appellants, 4.33 to appellees.
When voting in the minority of a reversal, once again, Justice Theis averages more question to the party she votes against – 3.75 to appellants, 1.75 to appellees. When writing a dissent from a reversal, she averages 7.5 questions to appellants and 2 to appellees. When not writing an opinion, Justice Theis has asked no questions of appellants, and 1.5 questions to appellees.
Join us back here tomorrow as we continue our analysis of Justice Theis’ patterns in civil cases.