This week, we’re looking at another issue in our ongoing examination of the data regarding amicus briefs at the Supreme Court. Specifically, we’ll be comparing the percentage of amicus briefs supporting appellants and respondents which wound up on the winning side to the winning percentage of appellants and respondents overall.
Of course, this comparison is subject to a major objection: post hoc ergo propter hoc (you always know you’re in trouble when the fallacy is so old that there’s a Latin name for it). Just because amicus briefs in a certain area of law have a higher winning percentage than parties on that side overall doesn’t prove that amicus briefs are actually contributing to the win – amici might be attracted by a position that’s likely to win already. So we’ll bookmark that issue for a future post . . .
For constitutional law appellants, amici did slightly worse than appellants overall, winning 57.14% of their cases as opposed to 63.55% for appellants overall. Appellees’ amici won half the time, while appellees overall won 36.45% of their cases. In environmental law, appellants’ amici won 75% of their cases, as opposed to only 54.55% overall. Appellees’ amici lost every case during these years, while appellees overall won 45.45%.
In civil procedure cases, appellants’ amici won 70% of their cases. Appellants overall won only 52.67%. Appellees’ amici won half their cases, while appellees overall won 47.33%. Appellants’ amici in cases involving government and administrative law won 73.33% of their cases, while appellants overall won 63.16%. Appellees’ amici won only 13.33% of their cases. Appellees overall won 36.84%.
In arbitration law, appellants’ amici won all their cases, while appellants overall won 60%. Appellees’ amici won none of their cases, while appellees overall won 40%. In tort law, appellants won 58.52% of their cases to 41.48% for appellees. Appellants’ amici won 84.13% of their cases, while appellees’ amici won only 26.67%.
In domestic relations cases, appellants won 60.98% to 39.02% for appellees. Appellants’ amici in domestic relations cases won 55.56% of their cases, while appellees’ amici won 39.02%. Only 32% of employment law appellants won to 68% for appellees. No amicus briefs in employment cases won during these years on either the appellants or appellees’ side.
Join us back here next time as we conclude our trip through the various areas of law, looking at the amicus winning percentage data.
Image courtesy of Flickr by David Wilson (no changes).