Oral Advocates at the Wisconsin Supreme Court: An Update for 2020-21 and 2021-22

Two terms have come and gone since our last post on attorneys who deliver frequent oral arguments at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, so today we’ll revisit the topic and see which lawyers have been most active—not only over the past two years but also the two years before that.[Continue Reading…]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1945-46

These tables are derived from information contained in 176 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1945, and August 31, 1946.  The total of 176 decisions does not include various orders pertaining to petitions, motions, and the like.  Also omitted is Petition of Doar, a per curiam order setting aside the court’s previous abrogation of a statutory rule.

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) Langworthy v. Reisinger (249 Wis. 24 and 249 Wis. 29); (2) Estate of Bocher and Dillett v. Rollmann; (3) Gottschalk v. Avalon Realty Co. and Ruppa v. Avalon Realty Co.; (4) State ex rel. Martin v. Barrett, State ex rel. Martin v. Glasser, State ex rel. Martin v. Grossen, State ex rel. Martin v. Gussert, State ex rel. Martin v. Heinz, State ex rel. Martin v. Lochman, State ex rel. Martin v. Nickolai, State ex rel. Martin v. Seroogy, and State ex rel. Martin v. Willard

Eight justices appear in a number of the tables because Justice Joseph Martin died in March 1946 and was replaced the following month by Justice Ward Rector.

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

“Women and the Wisconsin Supreme Court”: An Update through 2021-22

Three years have passed since the previous post in this series, and it’s time for another look at the frequency with which women have been delivering oral arguments at the supreme court.[Continue Reading…]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1946-47

These tables are derived from information contained in 190 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1946, and August 31, 1947.  The total of 190 decisions does not include various orders pertaining to petitions, motions, applications, and disciplinary matters involving lawyers and judges.  Among the items excluded is In re Integration of Bar, where the court issued a per curiam ruling dismissing a petition from the president of the Wisconsin State Bar. 

In State v. Jewell the court found its original mandate (April 8, 1947) to be erroneous and issued a new decision (July 1, 1947).  Both decisions are counted here. 

When two 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: Senft v. Ed. Schuster & Co. (250 Wis. 406 and 250 Wis. 412). 

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

The Fate of Petitions for Review in Criminal Cases, 2014-15 and 2020-21

Recent data on petitions for review allow us to compare petitions submitted during the 2020-21 term with those featured in a post six years ago.[1]  The previous post, which covered petitions in 2014-15, addressed criminal cases, and we will maintain that focus today in surveying the outcomes of petitions from the State, the Public Defender, private lawyers, and defendants themselves.[Continue Reading…]

The 2021-22 Fantasy League Medalists

This season the Competition Committee sought to provide stiffer opposition for the Gavels, perennial champions from the State Public Defender’s Office, by disbanding one of the other teams and distributing its members among the other three contenders.  The results are now in, and they mark the end of the Gavels’ domination that extended back to the inaugural season in 2015-16.  Although the Gavels acquitted themselves well in 2021-22—surpassing their average point total for the previous six seasons—they could not threaten this year’s new powerhouse, the Waivers, whose total of 145 points exceeded by 50 the highest mark ever posted by the Gavels.

Last month’s awards banquet honored not only the Waivers but also several individual firms that appeared regularly in the season’s weekly highlights.  Brightest among these stars were a group of five that each scored at least 30 points, led by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty with 49 points and joined by Troutman Pepper (33), Stafford Rosenbaum (32), Boardman & Clark (31), and Pines Bach (30).

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

Reversing the Court of Appeals, 2020-21 and 2021-22

A reader, who prefers anonymity, inquired recently about reversal rates for court of appeals judges.  His interest extended beyond summary figures from the four court of appeals districts, he explained, for he was curious to learn how frequently the supreme court affirmed or reversed individual judges.  While the court’s website does provide some information for the districts, I am not aware of reports on how the supreme court appraised the votes of each judge separately.  So, let’s find out.[Continue Reading…]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 2021-22

These tables are derived from information contained in 52 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions filed between September 1, 2021, and the end of the court’s term in the summer of 2022.  The total of 52 decisions omits orders pertaining to various motions, petitions, and disciplinary matters involving lawyers and judges. 

Also excluded are (1) Timothy Rave v. SVA Healthcare Services, LLC (dismissed as moot); (2) State v. Nhia Lee and James Cobb v. Gary A. King (dismissed as improvidently granted); and (3) State v. Manuel Garcia and Jama I. Jama v. Jason C. Gonzalez (which resulted in 3-3 per curiam decisions).

When two cases were consolidated and decided with a single decision, they are counted as only one.

The tables are available as a complete set and by individual topic according to 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
Number of Oral Arguments Presented by Individual Firms and Agencies

 

The 2021-22 Term: Some More Impressions

Today we’ll continue our assessment of the 2021-22 term with summaries of the outcomes in four areas of interest: (1) the length of decisions; (2) the number of concurrences and dissents; (3) the number of days between oral argument and decision filing; and (4) the frequency of fractured decisions.[Continue Reading…]

Are the Justices “liberals” and “conservatives”?

Yesterday’s post prompted an eminent Wisconsin attorney to contact me with an objection to the use of the terms “liberal” and “conservative” to characterize justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Here are the portions of his argument that I can quote while shielding his identity:[Continue Reading…]