Last time, we began looking at a new question: are majority opinions reversing the Appellate Court on average longer than majorities affirming the result below? Between 1990 and 2003, the answer was, most of the time, yes. This time, we’re looking at the data for civil cases between 2004 and 2018.
In Table 965, we review the data for civil cases in the years 2004 through 2010. In six of seven years, civil reversals were, on average, at least somewhat longer. In 2004, majorities affirming averaged 15.28 pages to 15.04 pages for reversals. In 2005, the usual pattern reasserted itself – reversals were 23.08 pages and affirmances were 15.85 pages. In 2006, reversals averaged 23.43 pages to 20.46 pages for affirmances. In 2007, reversals averaged 18.59 pages to 17.11 pages for affirmances. In 2008, reversals averaged 16.75 pages to 16.22 for affirmances. The following year, reversals averaged 16.32 pages to 12.1 pages for affirmances. In 2010, affirmances averaged 15.72 pages to 15.47 pages for affirmances.
In five of the seven years between 2011 and 2018, civil reversals were, on average, longer than affirmances. In 2011, civil reversals averaged 13.8 pages, while affirmances were 12.71 pages. In 2012, affirmances were slightly longer – 11.63 pages to 11.33 pages for reversals. In 2013, reversals were 11.19 pages to 10.85 pages for affirmances. In 2014, reversals were 9.35 pages and affirmances averaged 8.86 pages. The following year, reversals averaged 9.83 pages and affirmances averaged 9.76 pages. In 2016, reversals were 14.75 pages and affirmances averaged 13 pages. In 2017, affirmances were 15.18 pages and reversals averaged 14.75 pages. In 2018, the average civil majority opinion reversing was 15.38 pages, while affirmances were 14.89 pages.
Join us back here on Tuesday as we review the numbers for the criminal docket.