How Many Decisions Can We Expect in 2022-23?

It’s time again for SCOWstat’s annual prediction of the number of decisions that the supreme court will file by the end of its term this summer.  Using the court’s customary pace of work as a guide for assessing the information currently available, we can estimate the final total with confidence.

Through May 8, the justices have decided 25 cases, not counting a deadlocked (3-3) per curiam decision in Neil J. Rennick v. Teleflex Medical Incorporated.[1]  Another 24 cases are awaiting decisions following oral argument.[2]  Assuming, as past practice suggests, that all 24 of these pending cases will reach a decision before the end of the term, we can anticipate a total of 49 (or 50 including Rennick) decisions for 2022-23.  A handful of other pending cases have not advanced beyond briefing, and they will have to wait until next term for resolution. 

Although the yield for 2022-23 will not approach totals from previous decades, it will nearly match the figures for the two most recent terms, as the following graph indicates.

Another way to view the data is by calculating the average number of decisions per term for each of the last four decades.

Decade 1 (1982-83 through 1991-92): 87 cases per term
Decade 2 (1992-93 through 2001-02): 82 cases per term
Decade 3 (2002-03 through 2011-12): 74 cases per term
Decade 4 (2012-13 through 2021-22): 53 cases per term

Thus, our estimate of 49-50 decisions for 2022-23 reinforces an impression emerging in recent years that an annual output much exceeding the low 50s would now be a surprise.

 

[1] Although I normally omit 3-3 decisions from SCOWstats calculations, they have figured in the numbers for earlier years in the graph displayed in this post, so I will continue to include them as I update the graph.

[2] The following cases were awaiting decision as of May 8:
State v. Garland Dean Barnes
State v. Alan S. Johnson
5 Walworth, LLC v. Engerman Contracting, Inc.
State v. Daimon Von Jackson, Jr.
Allsop Venture Partners III v. Murphy Desmond SC
State v. Wilson P. Anderson
State v. Corey T. Rector
State v. Percy Antione Robinson
Nancy Kindschy v. Brian Aish
Wisconsin Justice Initiative, Inc. v. Wisconsin Elections Commission
State v. James P. Killian
Greenwald Family Limited Partnership v. Village of Mukwonago
State v. Mitchell D. Green
Derrick A. Sanders v. State of Wisconsin Claims Board
State v. Michael K. Fermanich
Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company, Inc. v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau
State v. Junior L. Williams-Holmes
State v. Quaheem O. Moore
Femala Fleming v. Amateur Athletic Union of the United States, Inc.
State v. Eric J. Debrow
Thomas G. Miller v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of the Village of Lyndon Station
Walworth County v. M.R.M.
State v. A.G.
Wisconsin Property Tax Payers, Inc. v. Town of Buchanan

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 93 years.

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