For the past two weeks, we’ve been reviewing the reversal rates before the Supreme Court of each District and Division of the Appellate Court since 1990. But not all affirmances (or reversals) are created equal. A 4-3 reversal is arguably a different thing than a 7-0 reversal (and the same goes for affirmances by those votes). We calculated average votes to affirm each District and Division, year by year: votes for the prevailing side in an affirmance, votes for the losing side in a reversal. (The gaps in the Tables below are years in which the Supreme Court decided no cases from that District or Division.) As we showed earlier, the highest twenty-eight year reversal rate in civil cases was the Fifth District, 72.83%. The lowest was Division Four of the First District, 52.38%.
We report average votes to affirm for Division One of the First District in Table 931 below. For ten of the twenty-eight years between 1990 and 2017, the court’s average votes to affirm was over 4 on the seven-Justice Court (1990, 1997-1999, 2005-2008, 2010 and 2015). For an additional four years, Division One’s votes-to-affirm was between three and four (1992, 1994, 1996 and 2002). In only nine of twenty-eight years was the votes to affirm number at two or less (1991, 1995, 2003-2004, 2011-2014 and 2017).
Division Two of the First District had a votes-to-affirm of four or more in seven of the twenty-eight years between 1990 and 2017. In another six years, its votes to affirm was between three and four. In ten of the twenty-eight years, Division Two’s votes to affirm was two or less.
Division Three of the First District has generally been close to a majority vote to affirm. For seven years – 19997, 2000-2002, 2004 and 2006-2007), the court’s votes to affirm were four or more. In an additional eleven years, votes to affirm were between three and four – 1990-1991, 1993, 1995, 1999-2001, 2005, 2011, 2014. In six years, votes to affirm were two or less: 1992, 1994-1996, 2008-2009 and 2012.
Despite having the lowest overall reversal rate in the state, the court’s votes to affirm rate bounced around. Division Four had a votes to affirm of four or more in seven of twenty-eight years (1992, 1995, 1997, 2006, 2010-2011 and 2016). In an additional seven years, votes to affirm was between three and four (1990, 1994, 2000-2001, 2004, 2007 and 2015). Eleven times, the court’s votes to affirm has been two or less (1991, 1993, 1998-1999, 2002-2003, 2005, 2009, 2013-2014 and 2017).
Division Five’s votes to reverse were equally distributed across the spectrum. For eight years, votes to reverse were four or more (1991, 1994, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2013, 2014-2015). In seven years, votes to affirm were between three and four (1990, 1992, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2012). In seven years, votes to affirm were two or fewer (1993, 1995, 1999, 2006-2007, 2010-2011, 2016-2017).
The votes to affirm rate for Division Six has been distributed similarly. For eight years since 1990, Division Six’s rate has been at four or more (1991, 1999-2001, 2005-2006, 2016-2017). In seven years, the rate has been between three and four (1995-1997, 2002, 2007, 2009, 2013). In nine years, the court’s votes to affirm rate was at two or less (1994, 1998, 2003-2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014-2015).
Finally, we address civil cases for which we were unable to positively identify the Division of the First District which heard the case. In six years, the votes to affirm rate was four or more (1991, 1993, 1999, 2000-2001, 2016). In five years, the votes to affirm rate was between three and four (1992, 1996-1998 and 2002). In three years, the votes to affirm rate was two or less (1990 and 1994-1995). In six years, the Court decided no cases which we were unable to attribute to a Division. The Table ends in 2002 because since that year, there is only one additional case in which we were unable to identify a Division – a 2016 case which was affirmed 7-0.
Join us back here tomorrow as we review the data from the rest of the state.