Yesterday, we looked at the data for the number and type of insurance law cases the Court has decided, year-by-year, since 1990, as well as the insurers’ winning percentage in those cases. Today, we’re reviewing the individual Justices’ voting records in insurance law cases.
In Table 1065, we show yearly votes for insurer parties for the years 1990 to 1999. We’ll get to specifics later in the post, but several Justices who tended overall to vote with insurer parties at a bit over the courtwide average served in this decade and the next, including Justices Rathje, Heiple, Nickels and Miller. Leaving aside Justices who were concluding their tenure in 1990, the only Justice in the chart who tended to vote for insurer parties somewhat less often than his colleagues was Justice Bilandic.
In the next Table, we see the Justices’ votes against insurer parties between 1990 and 1999.
In Table 1067, we review Justices’ votes for insurer parties between 2000 and 2009. Justices supporting insurer parties at a higher than courtwide rate in this table include Justices Karmeier, Burke, McMorrow and Freeman.
And in Table 1068, we review the Justices’ votes against insurer parties. Among the names on this list, Justices whose rate of voting with insurers was at least somewhat lower than the firmwide rate, we have Justices Garman, Thomas, Harrison and Fitzgerald.
And next, we report the votes in favor of insurer parties, Justice by Justice, for the years 2011 to 2018. The Court decided no insurance cases in 2014, 2016 or 2017.
In the chart below, we report the yearly votes cast by each Justice against insurer parties for the years 2011 to 2018.
Finally, let’s take a look at the Justices’ cumulative voting record in insurance cases. First, we calculate for each Justice the percentage of his or her total insurer votes which were cast for insurers between 1990 and 2018. For the entire period, insurers had a winning percentage at the Court of 53.41% – forty-seven wins, forty-one losses. So we divide the Justices into two tables – Justices voting for insurers at a higher rate than the full Court and Justices voting for insurers less often than the full Court (in reviewing the tables, keep in mind that several Justices’ percentages will either be very high or very low because they were close to retirement in 1990, when our data starts, or in Justice Neville’s case, because of joining the Court in 2018).
Justice Rathje voted with the insurer 80% of the time in insurance cases. Three Justices are in the sixties – Justice Theis (66.67%), Justice Heiple (65%) and Justice Nickels (60%). Six Justices were in the fifties but ahead of the courtwide number of 53.41% – Justice Karmeier (58.06%), Justice Miller (56.82%), Justibe Burke (56.52%), Justice McMorrow (56.25%), Justice Freeman (55.56%) and Justice Cunningham (also 55.56%).
In Table 1072, we report the Justices who were at least a bit less likely to support insurers than the Court overall. Justice Garman’s insurer rate was 51.16%. Seven Justices were in the forties – Justice Thomas (47.62%), Justice Harrison (47.06%), Justice Fitzgerald (46.88%), Justices Clark and Moran (both 46.15%), Justice Kilbride (43.9%) and Justice Bilandic (41.18%). Justices Stamos, Ryan and Ward, each of whom left the Court in 1990, voted with insurers only a third of the time. And finally, three Justices whose tenures only slightly overlapped our study period, Justices Calvo, Rarick and Neville, did not vote for the insurance company in any of their insurance cases.
Join us back here next Tuesday as review the same metrics for another important area of the law.