Yesterday, we began reviewing the data regarding the Court’s experience with recusals in civil cases, and how often recusals lead to the Court being closely divided in its decision. Today, we proceed to Part 2 of our analysis – the years 2006 through 2017.
In Table 518, we review the number of votes for the prevailing party in civil cases with at least one recusal between 2006 and 2011. In 2006, nine civil recusal cases wound up with six votes for the winning party. Six cases had five votes and five had four. In 2007, once again, most recusal cases wound up with a clear winner – nine cases had six votes, five had five and three had four. In 2008, things were a good bit closer. Only four cases had six votes for the prevailing party. Three had four votes, and two cases had five. In 2009, five civil cases had six votes for the prevailing party. Two had five votes, and two had four. In 2010, three cases had six votes for the prevailing party. Two had four and one had five. Finally, in 2011, six civil cases had six votes for the prevailing party. Three had five votes and none had four.
So we moved on to the years 2012 through 2017.
In 2012, Justice Thomas recused himself in two civil cases. Justices Freeman, Kilbride, Karmeier and Theis had one recusal apiece. The following year, Justices Burke and Thomas recused twice each, while Justices Kilbride and Theis recused once each. In 2014 and 2015, recusals were quite rare in civil cases. In 2014, Justice Burke recused once and Justice Karmeier recused once. In 2015, Justice Thomas recused twice – that was all. In 2016, Justice Karmeier recused in two civil cases, and Justices Burke, Freeman, Kilbride and Thomas recused once each. So far in 2017, Justice Kilbride has recused in one civil case.
Finally, we turn to votes for the prevailing party. In 2012, two civil cases resulted in five votes for the prevailing party. Two cases had four votes and one had six. In 2013, two cases each had six and five votes. One had four. In 2014, one case had five votes for the prevailing party. In 2015, two cases had four votes. In 2016, two cases each had six and five votes for the prevailing party. In 2017, the one recusal resulted in six votes for the prevailing party.
Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to the Court’s experience with recusals in criminal cases.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Sergey Gabdurakhmanov (no changes).