Today I am happy to present the first interim Stat Pack for the October Term 2015. As we approach the last few weeks of the Term, several key trends are beginning to reveal themselves. You can view the Stat Pack in its entirety here.
Below, you can view each portion of the Stat Pack individually and review my takeaways from this version of the Stat Pack.
Circuit Scorecard: In an odd turn of events, there are no cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit set to be decided during OT15. Typically, the Court grants and decides somewhere between three and five merits cases from the Seventh Circuit in any given Term. In OT09, in fact, the Justices decided eleven cases from the Seventh Circuit.
Vote Split: Thirty-seven of the seventy-two decisions (51%) released during OT15 had 9-0 or 8-0 voting line-ups. The last three times the Court decided more than half of its cases with a unanimous vote were in OT02 (51%), OT05 (56%), and OT13 (66%).
Opinion Authorship: Justice Thomas has released by far the largest number of opinions, with thirty-four total. He has released seven majority opinions, a similar number to many of his colleagues, but he has also released thirteen concurring opinions (Justice Alito is next with six), and fourteen dissenting opinions (Justice Sotomayor is next with seven). If you look only at opinions over five pages, Justice Thomas is still in the lead with twenty-three opinions.
Justice Thomas holds the “record” for the largest number of total opinions in a single Term during the Roberts Court with thirty-seven opinions in OT14. That was the largest number of opinions in a Term since we began collecting statistics in OT95.
Summary Reversals: The Justices have released thirteen summary reversals during OT15, which is well above their modern average of seven summary reversals per Term. The last time the Justices released this many was during OT09, when they released fourteen summary reversals.
Justice Agreement: Two pairings of Justices are tied with the highest rate of agreement during OT15. Both Justices Kennedy and Kagan and Justices Breyer and Kagan have agreed in the judgment in 94.3% of all cases. Meanwhile, Justices Scalia and Sotomayor have the lowest rate of agreement, 64.7%.