Archives: Unanimity at the Court

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How Was Dissent Distributed in Criminal Cases?

Yesterday, we took a closer look at last week’s analysis of the unanimity rate, asking how much of the docket was accounted for by one, two and three dissenter cases.  Over the entire period 1990-2017, 12.86% of the criminal decisions had one dissenter, 10.65% had two – both slightly below the rate in civil cases … Continue Reading

How Was Dissent Distributed in Civil Cases?

Last week, we discussed the evolution of the Court’s rate of unanimity in civil cases.  But of course, that analysis omits important variables – how was the dissent distributed?  It tells us something very different if, for example, the entire group of divided decisions were 6-1 or 4-3.  So this week, we’re looking at that … Continue Reading

How Has the Court’s Unanimity Rate in Criminal Cases Changed Over Time?

Yesterday, we began our review of how the Court’s unanimity rate has changed over time with a review of the data for the civil docket.  Today, we’re looking at the criminal docket.  For the entire twenty-eight years, the Court has decided 1,540 cases and been unanimous in 67.86% – less than a point higher than … Continue Reading

How Has the Court’s Unanimity Rate in Civil Cases Changed Over Time?

This week, we’re turning our attention to a new issue, comparing the evolution of the Court’s unanimity rate in civil and criminal cases over time.  Between 1990 and 2017, the Court decided 1,363 civil cases, 67.06% of them unanimously. In Table 890, we report the yearly numbers from 1990 to 1996.  In 1990, the Court’s … Continue Reading

The Illinois Supreme Court’s Dissent Rate in Death Penalty Appeals from 2000 to 2011

For the past two weeks, we’ve been considering the Illinois Supreme Court’s rate of unanimity and dissent in civil and criminal cases between 2000 and 2015.  Today, we address a related historical issue.  Until 2011, when the state of Illinois abolished the death penalty, appeals in death cases were heard in the first instance at … Continue Reading

How Often is the Illinois Supreme Court Sharply Divided in Criminal Cases (2000-2015)?

Last week, we began reviewing the data for the Illinois Supreme Court’s unanimity and dissent rates in civil and criminal cases between 2000 and 2015.  We also considered how many of the non-unanimous civil decisions qualified as “lopsided” – meaning that they featured only one dissenter.  Today, we consider the rate of lopsided decisions on … Continue Reading

The Illinois Supreme Court’s Dissent Rate in Criminal Cases, 2000-2015

Yesterday, we addressed the Illinois Supreme Court’s rate of unanimous and near-unanimous opinions in civil cases.  Today, we turn to the criminal docket. In Table 257 below, we report the overall data for the criminal docket. For the years 2000 through 2003 – years in which the Court was split five Democrats to two Republicans … Continue Reading

The Illinois Supreme Court’s Dissent Rate in Civil Cases, 2000-2015

Last week, we addressed whether the lag time between oral argument and the Illinois Supreme Court’s decisions is an accurate predictor of dissent for the Court’s civil and criminal dockets.  Today, we turn to a different question: the Supreme Court’s unanimity rate. We report the Court’s rate of unanimous civil decisions in Table 255 below.  … Continue Reading

The Illinois Supreme Court’s Dissent Rate (Part II)

Yesterday, we addressed the Illinois Supreme Court’s rate of dissent in civil cases since 2000. But a 6-1 decision counts as not being unanimous – how many of these cases saw a closely divided Court? The Court’s percentage of closely divided cases – decisions with two or three dissenting Justices – has remained relatively constant … Continue Reading

The Illinois Supreme Court’s Dissent Rate (Part I)

Last week, we addressed the issue of the lag time between argument and decision as a predictor of whether the Court’s decision will be unanimous. This week, we address the Court’s dissent rate. Many scholars (and quite a few judges) have argued that an appellate court’s dissent rate does not necessarily reflect how often the … Continue Reading
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