Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1940-41

These tables are derived from information contained in 305 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1940, and August 31, 1941.  The total of 305 decisions does not include various orders pertaining to petitions, motions, and the like.  In particular, cases are not included if they were decided during the previous term but appeared in the search results because motions for reconsideration were not rejected until 1940-41.  Also excluded are lawyer disciplinary rulings.   

When two or more cases were, in effect, consolidated—one was simply said to be ruled by the decision in the other—the cases are counted as only one: (1) Nayes v. Milwaukee E. R. & L. Co. (237 Wis. 141) and Nayes v. Milwaukee E. R. & L. Co. (237 Wis. 146); (2) In re Hahto’s Estate and In re Laus’s Estate; (3) In re Wisconsin Power & Light Co. and In re Condemnation by Wisconsin Power & Light Co.

Nick v. American Lumber & Mfg. Co. resulted in a 3-3 split and is not included.

According to Portraits of Justice. The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s First 150 Years, “[i]n 1940, [Justice George] Nelson became ill and was unable to attend court.  He resigned in December 1942.”  During the 1940-41 term he is listed as the author of only five majority opinions (decided in October and November of 1940), which raises the question of whether he participated in later cases.  He is not listed as “taking no part”—as are other justices on the rare occasions when they did not participate—but it seems doubtful that he was involved in most of the 242 cases decided after November 1940.  Thus, many of the (apparently) 7-0 decisions may actually have been 6-0.  I have included Justice Nelson in the “Distribution of Opinion Authorship” table, but he does not appear in any of the others.

The tables are available as a complete set and by individual topic in the subsets listed below.

Four-to-Three Decisions
Decisions Arranged by Vote Split
Frequency of Justices in the Majority
Distribution of Opinion Authorship
Frequency of Agreement Between Pairs of Justices

About Alan Ball

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

alan.ball@marquette.edu

SCOWstats offers numerical analysis of the voting by Wisconsin Supreme Court justices on diverse issues over the past 90 years.

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