The End is Near?

Although the court’s term is said to end on June 30, decisions commonly trickle (and sometimes pour) out well into July.  Two readers, wondering if their cases still have a chance to be decided this term, have asked how frequently the court has filed decisions long past June 30.  As the question may also have occurred to others, let’s take a look at the court’s track record in this regard over the last two decades.  We’ll focus on (1) the number of decisions filed after June 30 each term, (2) the percentage that this number represented of all the decisions that term, and (3) the filing date of the term’s concluding decision.

So far in 2022 the court has filed one decision in July, with six more scheduled for today and tomorrow.  Another four or five could surface before the end of the month, which would mean that between 20% and 25% of the term’s decisions appeared after June 30—considerably higher than the percentages for the preceding five terms, but modest compared to the figures for a majority of the terms in the 20-year interval. 

This is evident in the following table, which also shows that it wasn’t unusual several years ago to wait until the second half of July for the final decisions of a term.  Perhaps the court will be closer to that this year than in the recent past.

About Alan Ball

Alan Ball is a Professor of History at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.

SCOWstats offers numerical analysis of the voting by Wisconsin Supreme Court justices on diverse issues over the past 93 years.

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