For the past two weeks, we’ve been continuing our review of the data on dissents at the Appellate Court, asking whether a dissent below indicates that a reversal at the Supreme Court is more likely. This time, we’re reviewing the data on civil cases for the years 2010 through 2020.
Across the entire period, once again a dissent at the Appellate Court indicated that reversal was at least a bit more likely in civil cases: 65.98% of cases with a dissent below were reversed, while 56.71% of cases decided unanimously were reversed.
Divided decisions were reversed at a higher rate in 8 of the 11 years between 2010 and 2020. The more lopsided totals included 2010 (66.67% for dissent below, 47.61% for unanimous decisions), 2012 (100% to 67.86%) and 2017 (80% to 43.75%).
So what’s the bottom line? Across the last thirty-one years, from 1990 to 2020, 64.04% of civil cases with a dissent at the Appellate Court were reversed by the Supreme Court. Unanimous decisions were reversed at a rate of 55.38%.
Join us back here next time as we review the data for criminal cases in the same years.