Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1929-30

These tables are derived from information contained in 343 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1929, and August 31, 1930.  The total of 343 decisions does not include various orders pertaining to petitions, motions, and disciplinary matters involving lawyers and judges. 

Cases are omitted if they were decided during the previous term but appeared in the search results because motions for reconsideration were not rejected until 1929-30.  Such cases will be included in the tables for 1928-29.

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.  For instance: (1) In re Wood County Drainage District (230 N.W. 57) and In re Cranberry Creek Drainage District (230 N.W. 59); (2) State ex rel. Waldheim & Co. v. Wisconsin Tax Com. (229 N.W. 641) and Tipler Lumber Co. v. Wisconsin Tax Com. (229 N.W. 642); (3) Trautmann v. Charles Schefft & Sons Co. (228 N.W. 741) and Trautmann v. Charles Schefft & Sons Co. (228 N.W. 744); (4) Gerbing v. McDonald (229 N.W. 860) and Gerbing v. McDonald (229 N.W. 864); (5) Wilson v. Evangelical Lutheran Church of Reformation (230 N.W. 708) and Wilson v. Evangelical Lutheran Church of Reformation (230 N.W. 710).

Turnover on the court during the 1929-30 term accounts for the fact that eight justices appear in the following tables.  Justice Franz Eschweiler died on November 14, 1929, and was not replaced (by Justice Edward Fairchild) until April 28 (or April 30 according to another source), 1930.  During the intervening interval, the court had only six justices.  Justice Charles Crownhart died on May 2, 1930, and was replaced at the start of the next term by Justice John Wickhem, while Justice E. Ray Stevens died at the very end of period under consideration here (on August 25, 1930) and was replaced the next term by Justice George Nelson. 

The sources do not make it possible to determine precisely when (if at all) Justices Eschweiler and Crownhart ceased to participate in cases before their deaths; nor can we tell exactly when Justice Fairchild began voting in decisions taken after his appointment at the end of April 1930.  The decisions (unless they were per curiam) name the authors of majority opinions and separate opinions, as well as the justices who joined separate opinions, but they do not list the justices who merely joined majority opinions (by far the largest category of participation).  Thus, I sometimes had to guess from fragmentary internal evidence whether a decision was, say, 6-0 or 7-0, and this should be borne in mind when viewing some of the following tables.

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 95 years.

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