Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1952-53

These tables are derived from information contained in 230 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1952, and August 31, 1953.  The total of 230 decisions does not include various orders pertaining to disciplinary matters involving lawyers nor to petitions, motions, applications, and the like (generally disposed of without oral argument and in short per curiam decisions). 

After deciding Plainse v. Engle, the justices responded to a motion for reconsideration by modifying their mandate slightly, and there was a similar outcome to a motion for reconsideration in Wannmacher v. Baldauf Corporation.  I have counted each of these cases only once, though one could argue that they should be counted twice. 

I have also omitted Wisconsin Electric Power Co. v. Milwaukee, a deadlocked (3-3) per curiam decision.

When two (or more) cases were, in effect, consolidated—that is, when one was said to be ruled by the decision in the other—the cases are counted as only one.  This occurred with State ex rel. Kojis v. Barczak (264 Wis. 136) and State ex rel. Kojis v. Barczak (264 Wis. 142)—and also in State v. Friedrich & Loots Company, State v. Shilts, and State v. Tomlin, all said to be ruled by State v. Stang Tank Line.    

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
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice

The 2021-22 Fantasy League Season Preview

The Competition Committee had finally seen enough.  Dissatisfied with efforts in previous years to provide stiffer competition for the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office, the Committee devoted its entire winter meeting last month to a discussion of more fundamental measures.  Not content with simply adding another law firm to each of the league’s other teams—the Affirmed, Citations, Writs, and Waivers—the Committee voted to disband the Citations entirely and distribute their firms to the other three contenders.  This dispersal yielded three powerhouse teams to whom the early line gives better than even odds to dethrone the six-time defending champion Gavels.  The Waivers, for instance, are now fielding a lineup that features Husch Blackwell, Troutman Pepper, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, von Briesen & Roper, Boardman & Clark, and a capable supporting cast of six other firms.

As in the past, scoring summaries will be posted here later this month, with weekly updates following until the season concludes in July.  Meanwhile, fans can click on the appropriate links to view the scoring rules and full team rosters.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1953-54

These tables are derived from information contained in 235 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1953, and August 31, 1954.  The total of 235 decisions does not include various orders pertaining to petitions, motions, applications, and the like (generally disposed of without oral argument and in short per curiam decisions). 

Also excluded is State ex rel. Sommer v. Stauff, a per curiam decision in which the court made permanent a previously-temporary writ of prohibition.

When two (or more) cases were, in effect, consolidated—one was simply said to be ruled by the decision in the other—the pair of cases is counted as only one.  (Both Continental Ins. Co. v. Badger Paint & Hardware Stores, Inc. and Firemen’s Ins. Co. v. Badger Paint & Hardware Stores, Inc., for instance, were said to be ruled by the decision in Commerce Ins. Co. v. Badger Paint & Hardware Stores, Inc.)          

Eight justices appear in a number of the tables, because Justice Oscar Fritz retired on January 1, 1954, and was replaced by Roland Steinle three days later.

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
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice

When Allies Disagree

Some time ago an acquaintance recommended that I take a look at cases in which the court’s staunchest allies failed to see eye to eye, thereby raising the question of what could have prompted them to part company on these unusual occasions.  There have certainly been pairs of justices in past decades who qualified for this scrutiny by voting together almost invariably, but readers will likely find it of greater interest to pose this question of current justices—and so we shall.[Continue Reading…]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1954-55

These tables are derived from information contained in 241 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1954, and August 31, 1955.  The total of 241 decisions does not include rulings on disciplinary matters involving lawyers, as well as various orders pertaining to petitions, motions, applications, and the like (generally disposed of without oral argument and in short per curiam decisions).  However, if, on a motion for rehearing, the court issued a substantial decision vacating its original mandate, the original and the second decision are each counted—assuming that each was filed during the period under our consideration. 

When two cases were, in effect, consolidated—that is, when one was said to be ruled by the decision in the other—the pair of cases is counted as only one.  (Milprint, Inc. v. Bach Sales Co., for instance, was said to be ruled by the decision in Peterson Cutting Die Co. v. Bach Sales Co.)  There were only a handful of such pairs.

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
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice

Text Mining at the Wisconsin Supreme Court: An Update

Numerous researchers have used computer programs to scrutinize large volumes of text, searching for patterns or tendencies that might otherwise escape detection.  One such program is Linguistic Inquiry Word Count software (LIWC), employed by scholars in diverse fields, including the legal profession.[1]  Among the findings were a pair of SCOWstats posts in the spring of 2019,[2] reporting on LIWC’s analysis of Wisconsin Supreme Court opinions issued from 2015-16 through 2017-18.  Three terms have passed since then, and with new justices joining the court,[3] it’s time for another look at their labors through the lens of LIWC.[4][Continue Reading…]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1955-56

These tables are derived from information contained in 226 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1955, and August 31, 1956.  The total of 226 decisions does not include various orders pertaining to petitions, motions, applications, and the like (generally disposed of without oral argument and in short per curiam decisions). [Continue Reading…]

Law Firms and the Justices: An Update for 2018-19 through 2020-21

In the spring of 2019 we examined the success rates of law firms most active in the Wisconsin Supreme Court over the previous decade (2008-09 through 2017-18), and today we’ll update that post by exploring data from the most recent three terms.[1]  As in the original post, our focus remains confined to private law firms, with state agencies and non-profit organizations excluded.[2][Continue Reading…]

Bloc Cohesion in 2020-21

Judge Jill Karofsky’s electoral victory over incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly last year prompted a post speculating on the impact that this might have during the court’s 2020-21 term.  More specifically, the post focused on 4-3 decisions and the greater importance of “bloc cohesion” for conservative (and liberal) justices in determining the outcomes.  With their number reduced to four, the conservatives could no longer afford to have one of their members stray in contentious cases—while the liberal minority, now three strong, had a more realistic chance to prevail in such cases, if they could maintain firmer unity in their ranks than did their conservative colleagues.[Continue Reading…]

Recapping the 2020-21 Fantasy League Season

Once again the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office ended the season atop the fantasy league standings—despite the effort of the Competition Committee to bolster the other teams by adding more law firms to their rosters for the 2020-21 campaign.  These teams, notably the Affirmed and the Writs, did in fact score much higher than they did in 2019-20, but the Gavels proceeded to win more of their cases this year than they did in any previous season, cruising to yet another league title.  They were led by Dustin Haskell, who contributed 20 points from favorable outcomes in two cases.

Although none of the other teams could match the Gavels’ depth, their rosters included individual firms that turned in impressive performances recognized at this month’s awards banquet.  They included the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty which delivered 22 points to the Writs, followed by the pair of Kasdorf, Lewis & Swietlik (20 points) and Axley Brynelson (19 points) which paced the Affirmed.  Nearly all of the Citations’ scoring came from Troutman Pepper (20 points) and Godfrey & Kahn (18 points), while Husch Blackwell led the Waivers with 18 points.

The following table provides the final totals for each team and every individual law firm.