Today, we conclude our trip through the Court’s civil constitutional law cases.
Between 2014 and 2019, the Court has decided twenty-seven civil constitutional law cases: four in 2014, five in 2015, six in 2016, three in 2017, five in 2018 and two to date in 2019.
The Court tended to take slightly more plaintiffs wins from the Appellate Court during this period than defendants’ wins: fourteen wins for plaintiffs, eleven for defendants. In 2014, the Court decided one plaintiffs win to three defense wins. In 2015, the Court decided three plaintiffs wins to two defense wins. In 2016, the Court decided five plaintiffs wins to only one defendants win. In 2017, the Court decided two plaintiffs wins to one defendants win. In 2018, the Court decided two plaintiffs wins to three defendants wins. In 2019, the Court has decided one plaintiffs win and one defendants win.
Defendants who won at the Appellate Court had a difficult time at the Supreme Court, winning four while losing seven.
Plaintiffs who won below fared only a little better, winning eight and losing six.
Defendants overall have had a tough time at the Supreme Court in recent years, winning eleven cases while losing fourteen.
Next, we review the specific areas in which the Court’s cases fell. The Court decided four due process cases in 2014, two due process, two governmental and one judicial in 2015, five governmental and one judicial in 2016, three due process in 2017, four due process and one governmental in 2018 and one due process and one governmental so far in 2019.
Turning to the individual Justices’ records, Justice Theis cast the most votes for constitutional law defendants at thirteen, Justice Garman cast twelve, Justices Kilbride and Thomas has eleven votes, Justice Freeman had ten votes, Justice Karmeier had nine and Justice Burke had eight. Justice Neville, who joined the Court in 2018, cast one vote for a defendant in a constitutional law case.
As for votes against constitutional law defendants, Justice Burke cast sixteen. Chief Justice Karmeier had fifteen. Justice Garman had thirteen. Justices Kilbride, Thomas and Theis had twelve each. Justice Freeman and ten, and Justice Neville had four.
From 1990 to 2019, defendants in civil constitutional law matters have won 57.76% of their cases. Below, we report the Justices who voted for those defendants at a higher rate than the Court as a whole. Justice Thomas is first at 60.53%, closely followed by Justice Garman at 60.49% and Justice Fitzgerald at 60%. Justice Theis has voted for defendants in 59.38% of civil constitutional law cases, Justice Kilbride 59.26%, and Justices Miller and Ryan did so 58.33% of the time. Note that four of the seven currently active Justices are on this list.
Finally, we report the much longer list of Justices who have supported defendants’ positions in civil constitutional law cases at a lesser rate than the Court as a whole. Justice Karmeier has voted for defendants in 56.6% of cases. Justices Stamos and Rarick are at 53.85%. Justice McMorrow is at 53.41%, followed by Justice Freeman at 53.24% and Justice Clark at 52%. Eight Justices were in the forties: Justices Burke (48.94%), Moran and Nickels (48%), Ward (46.15%), Heiple (44.93%), Bilandic (44.44%), Harrison (43.75%) and Rathje (42.86%). Justice Calvo voted for defendants in only 38.46% of cases and Justice Cunningham in 30.77%. In his very limited time on the Court so far, Justice Neville has voted for defendants in civil constitutional law cases 20% of the time.
Join us back here next week as we turn our attention to a new topic.