This week, we’re beginning a new area of law in our ongoing study of the individual Justices’ voting records – constitutional law cases.  First up, we’ll review defendants’ overall won-loss record, one decade at a time, and then look at the data in terms of defendants’ wins from the Appellate Court which were affirmed at the Supreme Court, and defendants’ losses which were reversed.

Between 1990 and 1999, defendants in constitutional law cases won 45 times at the Supreme Court while losing 39 cases.  In 1992, defendants won eight while losing only three.  On the other hand, in 1997, they won only two, losing seven.  The following year, they won ten, losing three.

Defendants had a rough time in successfully defending Appellate Court wins, winning only 15 times while losing 21.  Defendants were 5-1 defending lower court wins in 1992, but at or below .500 for the rest of the decade: 0-1 in 1993, 2-3 in 1994, 1-2 in 1995, 3-3 in 1996, 1-1 in 1997, 2-3 in 1998 and 0-3 in 1999.

Defendants fared better, however, in challenging Appellate Court losses.  For the decade, 25 defense losses were reversed at the Supreme Court while only 17 were affirmed.  Defendants were 4-2 in 1990, 3-2 in 1992, 5-3 in 1996 and 8-0 in 1998 and 1999.

Join us back here next time as we look at the data for the years 2000-2009.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Robert Ashworth (no changes).