In sharp contrast to the first year of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye's leadership of the California Supreme Court, her second year saw dissent and disagreement rates sharply increase, with some unusual combinations in both the majority and dissenting opinions. From July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, the court split 4-3 in seven cases, compared with only one in the previous twelve months. (See "Justices United," September 2012.) There were also seven 5-2 opinions, compared with one the previous year. As a result, the overall dissent rate nearly tripled - from 2.3 percent to 6.1 percent.
Opinion Count The Court decided 96 cases in the past year, compared with 86 in the previous twelve months. The number of concurring and dissenting opinions increased sharply, largely due to the output of Justices Kennard and Liu. Justice Liu's low rate of majority opinions is most likely a result of reassignments. When the court grants a hearing, the chief justice assigns the task of preparing a calendar memorandum to one of the justices who supported taking the case; the calendar memorandum evolves into a majority opinion if three other justices sign on. If the calendar memorandum does not draw a majority, the case is reassigned to another justice who will write the majority opinion. The justice's calendar memorandum then ends up as a separate opinion. Some of Liu's concurrences and dissents read as though they had been prepared to be majority opinions - for example, People v. Barrett (54 Cal. 4th 1081 (2012)). -G.F.U.