Today, we’re continuing our series of posts on the Court’s experience since 1990 with civil constitutional law cases.
Constitutional law cases continued to drop sharply as a share of the civil docket between 2006 and 2013, as the Court decided only twenty-nine cases. The Court decided five cases in 2006, two in 2007, eight in 2008, two in 2009, five in 2010, two in 2011, two in 2012 and three in 2013.
The Court preferred cases won at the Appellate Court by a small margin. Of the twenty-nine cases decided, thirteen were won by the plaintiff below and sixteen by the defendants.
However, defendants were doing fairly well at the Supreme Court in cases they won below. Between 2006 and 2013, winning defendants won eleven cases at the Supreme Court while losing only five. Between 2013 and 2013, winning defendants won all six cases.
Winning plaintiffs, on the other hand, were having a difficult time at the Supreme Court, winning only four cases while losing nine.
Combining parts of the last two tables, we find that between 2006 and 2013, defendants won twenty civil issues involving constitutional law while losing only nine.
Between 2006 and 2013, the most common issue of civil constitutional law on the Court’s docket was questions about the authority and structure of governmental entities and public offices. The Court decided eleven such cases. Seven of the Court’s cases related to due process, six involved preemption and five involved procedural issues in the judiciary.
As for the Justices’ voting records, Justices Garman and Karmeier led the Court with twenty-one votes each for defendants in civil constitutional law cases. Following them were Justices Thomas (eighteen votes), Kilbride (seventeen votes), Freeman (sixteen votes) and Burke (fifteen votes).
Justice Kilbride led the Court during these years with twelve votes each against defendants in civil constitutional law cases. Justices Thomas and Fitzgerald were next with nine each. Justices Freeman, Garman, Burke and Karmeier were next at eight votes apiece.
Join us back here tomorrow as we wrap up this survey of the Court’s civil constitutional law cases.