How Many Decisions Can We Expect in 2023-24?

The time has arrived for our annual estimate of the number of decisions that the justices will file by term’s end this summer.  With just a few months now remaining before that date, we can zero in quite precisely on a total that is stunningly unparalleled over a period covering not only recent decades but the entire 20th century.  Even if we include two deadlocked (3-3) per curiam decisions from October[1] and Dean Phillips v. Wisconsin Elections Commission,[2] the term’s output will be nothing more than miniscule, as demonstrated by the graph.

Through April 29, the court has decided four cases,[3] with 10 more awaiting decisions following oral argument.[4]  Another case[5] has oral argument scheduled for May 13, giving us a total of 15 cases that should reach decision before term’s end.  However, past practice indicates that the court may disqualify one or another of the pending cases by dismissing it as improvidently granted or placing it on hold.[6]  Assuming that this occurs, thereby trimming the total to 14, even the addition of the two 3-3 per curiam decisions increases our estimate to only 16—the figure displayed in the graph—just one third of the previous year’s sum.

[1] The two cases are State v. Donte Quintell McBride and State v. Morris V. Seaton.  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.  Cases dismissed as improvidently granted are not included (nor are disciplinary rulings involving lawyers or judges).

[2] This case had no oral argument and yielded a brief (10-page) per curiam decision ordering that Dean Phillips’ name be placed on the spring primary ballot.

[3] This includes Dean Phillips but not the two deadlocked per curiam decisions mentioned above.

[4] The following cases were awaiting decision as of April 29:
Erik A. Andrade v. City of Milwaukee Bd. of Fire and Police Commissioners
Nancy Kindschy v. Brian Aish
Sojenhomer LLC v. Village of Egg Harbor
State v. Michael Gene Wiskowski
State v. B. W.
A.M.B. v. Circuit Court of Ashland County
Winnebago County v. D.E.W.
State v. R. A. M.
Waukesha County v. M.A.C.
Governor Evers v. Senator Marklein

[5] Priorities USA v. Wisconsin Election Commission.

[6] This has already occurred with Becker v. Wis. Dept. of Revenue, which has been placed on hold.

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 95 years.


  1. Enjoyed your conversation about this on WPR this morning.


  1. […] In fact, the court will decide “stunningly unparalleled” few cases this term, according to a tally from Alan Ball, a Marquette University professor and court […]

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