Between 1998 and 2005, the Court decided a total of fifty-four cases involving government officers, agencies and powers: five per year in 1998, 1999 and 2000, six in 2001, eight in 2002, ten in 2003, eight in 2004 and seven in 2005.

Two-thirds of those government/admin cases were won at the Appellate Court by the party challenging government actions or authority – eighteen cases won by the government actor and thirty-six won by the challenger.  Between 2001 and 2004, twenty-three cases were won by the challenger at the Appellate Court and only nine were won by the government challenger.

Parties challenging government actions or entities very nearly gained a split in cases which had been won by challengers below.  Between 1998 and 2005, challengers arriving at the Supreme Court on a win won seventeen cases at the Supreme Court while losing nineteen.

Defenders of government actions and authority did gain a split in their cases: government entities which had won at the Appellate Court won nine and lost nine between 1998 and 2005.

Merging these data points, we find that overall parties challenging governmental entities or actions won twenty-six games between 1998 and 2005 and lost twenty-eight.


The Court decided twenty-two cases involving the powers and actions of governmental officers and entities.  Seventeen cases primarily involved government procedure and sixteen involved purported rights against the government.

Five Justices during these years cast twenty or more votes in favor of parties challenging governmental entities and power: Justice Freeman twenty-nine votes, Justice McMorrow twenty-seven votes, Justice Thomas twenty-three votes, Justice Fitzgerald twenty-two votes and Justice Kilbride twenty-one votes.   Justice Rarick cast fourteen votes for challengers and Justice Harrison cast twelve votes.

Justices Freeman and McMorrow led in votes against challengers to government action and authority, each casting twenty-four votes.  Justice Fitzgerald cast seventeen votes for government entities, Justice Garman cast fifteen and Justices Thomas and Kilbride cast fourteen votes for government entities.

Join us back here in a few days as we turn our attention to the years 2006 to 2019.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Gary Todd (no changes).