New StatPack, Including First Justice Agreement Stats
on Feb 22, 2008 at 1:16 pm
A new StatPack is available for download here. It has three new inclusions from the last edition: Justice Agreement, Decisions by Final Vote, and a new chart we’re calling “Frequency in the Majority” (thanks go to Ben for this chart).
The first two additions are charts we’ve offered before (see here for last year’s End-of-Term stats) but were hesitant to include in previous StatPacks this Term because it’s so early. With the Term roughly 25% complete in terms of the issuing of decisions (there have been 17 substantive opinions so far out of an estimate of 70), we figured it’s worth releasing them, with the disclaimer that these charts ought to be taken with a large grain of salt: so much is still left outstanding this Term, and they could (and likely will) change drastically by the time the Court recesses for the summer.
The true “new” addition to the StatPack is a tally of how often each Justice votes with the majority – both overall and in divided cases only (you can download this chart individually here). While recognizing that no one method exists to measure “success” on the Court, we hope these figures will provide a general, if imperfect, measurement of how often each Justice is presumably pleased with the outcome of the Court’s decisions. With only 17 total merits opinions thus far released (eight of which were decided 9-0), the current results are, as we previously mentioned, highly preliminary.
Nonetheless, there seem to be two observations worth pointing out. First, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who dissented in Ali and Danforth, has already equaled the two dissenting votes he cast during the entirety of the previous term (see here). Kennedy’s dissent in Ali also broke the streak of 5-4 cases in which he voted with the majority — readers may recall that he was a perfect 24-for-24 last Term. Second, Justice Antonin Scalia is the only member of the Court to vote with the majority in every merits decision issued so far this Term. Chief Justice John G. Roberts had been tied with Scalia before dissenting in Danforth, but now Scalia is the only Justice who has yet to disagree with the outcome of a case.