Today, we’re reviewing the pattern of Justice Karmeier’s questions in oral argument on criminal cases.
When Justice Karmeier joins the majority of a simple affirmance or reversal, his questions show the expected pattern – he tends to more heavily question the losing side. In affirmances, he averages 1.88 questions to appellants and 0.68 to appellees. In reversals, he averages 1.82 to appellees and 1.36 to appellants. In the slightly less clear case of when Justice Karmeier joins a split decision – affirmed in part, reversed in part – he averages 1.98 questions to appellees and 1 to appellants.
When Justice Karmeier is in the dissent in a criminal case, he tends to more heavily question the party he thinks should lose rather than the party which will lose. When the majority affirms and he votes to reverse, he averages 1.8 questions to appellees and 0.8 to appellants. When the majority reverses and he votes to affirm, he averages 2.29 to appellants and 0.57 to appellees. When the majority returns a split decision but Justice Karmeier votes to affirm outright, he averages 1.5 questions to appellants and 1 to appellees.
Join us back here next week when we’ll continue our review of the individual Justices’ oral argument records.