Earlier today, we began our review of the Court’s history with civil constitutional law cases, starting with the years 1990 through 1997. This time, we’re looking at the next eight years: 1998 to 2005.
Constitutional law cases were down during this period. After deciding sixty-five cases between 1990 and 1997, the Court decided only forty-nine in the eight years following: thirteen in 1998, six in 1999, only one in 2000, six in 2001, four in 2002, five in 2003, and seven each in 2004 and 2005.
Defense wins from the Appellate Court were a bit more common than plaintiffs’ wins among the Court’s civil constitutional law cases. In all, the Court decided twenty-one constitutional cases won by the plaintiff below, but twenty-five cases won by the defendant.
Defendants who won at the Appellate Court broke even at the Supreme Court, winning eleven and losing eleven (although defendants had to win six of seven cases during the years 2003-2005 in order to pull even).
Plaintiffs who won below, on the other hand, had a horrendous time from 1998 to 2005, winning only five while losing nineteen.
Given that plaintiffs’ number, it’s not surprising that defendants’ overall won-loss record, including both cases they won and lost below, was thirty wins and only sixteen losses.
During these years, the Court decided sixteen cases falling into the broad category of the powers and organization of government entities and officials. Fourteen cases involved due process issues. Eight involved issues relating to the judicial branch, and seven involved preemption issues. The Court decided only two cases involving First Amendment issues.
Turning to the Justices’ voting records, Justices Freeman and McMorrow cast the most votes for defendants in constitutional law cases during this period – thirty each. Justice Kilbride cast twenty votes, followed by Justice Fitzgerald (18 votes), Justice Thomas (17 votes) and Justices Harrison and Garman (16 votes apiece).
The most votes were cast against defendants in constitutional law cases was eighteen by Justice McMorrow. Next was Justice Freeman at seventeen votes, Justice Harrison (thirteen votes), and eleven votes apiece by Justices Heiple, Garman and Fitzgerald.
Join us back here in a few days as we finish our tour through the Court’s civil constitutional law docket.