Testing Conventional Wisdom

Yesterday, we showed that for the most part, the percentage of non-unanimous Appellate Court decisions on the Supreme Court’s docket is about the same on the civil and criminal dockets.  Today, we’re asking the companion question – how important is publication at the Appellate Court?  Last week, we showed that roughly sixty to eighty percent

Last week, we reviewed the data for what percentage of the Court’s civil cases had a dissenter or were published below.  This week, we’re looking at the same question for the criminal side.

Between 1990 and 1994, nearly as many criminal cases as civil cases had a dissenter below – 21.74% (1990), 25.86% (1991), 11.96%

Yesterday, we showed that the Supreme Court regularly reviews roughly three civil cases which were unanimous decisions at the Appellate Court for every decision which had a dissenter below.  Today, we’re looking at a similar question – how often does the Court review unpublished decisions?

Between 1990 and 1995, the share of published cases below

One often hears that in order to successfully petition for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, a dissenter at the Appellate Court is crucial.  But is it true?  Today, we’re reviewing the Court’s civil docket.  In order to look at the data across the entire thirty years, we calculate the percentage of civil cases