This time, we’re reviewing the data for Justice Theis’ question patterns in criminal cases.
When Justice Theis agrees with the majority in an affirmance, she follows the expected pattern, averaging 3.22 questions to appellants and only 1.38 to appellees. However, she breaks from the pattern in reversals, more heavily questioning the winner – 3.02 to appellants, 2.66 to appellees. When Justice Theis joins the majority in a split result – affirmed in part, reversed in part – her numbers are almost identical – 2.3 questions to appellants, 2.23 to appellees.
Once again, in most cases where Justice Theis breaks with the majority, she more heavily questions the side she is voting against rather than the eventual loser. When the majority affirms but she votes to reverse, she averages 7.33 questions to appellees, 2 to appellants. When the majority reverses but she votes to affirm, she averages 3.38 to appellants, 2.13 to appellees. When the majority affirms only in part, but Justice Theis votes to affirm completely, she averages 4.5 questions to appellees, 0.5 to appellants. In our remaining two combinations – reversal by the Court, split vote by Justice Theis, and split result from the majority, vote to reverse by Justice Theis – she has asked no questions at all.
Join us back here next week as we continue our tour through the individual Justices’ oral argument data.