Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Chief by the numbers

Today's DJ features H&L's Kirk Jenkins continuing series, this time Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye by the Numbers. Here are a few key tidbits:
  • To date, the chief justice has voted in 270 civil cases and 431 criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile, disciplinary and mental health cases. She has written 39 majority opinions in civil cases -- 14.44% of the cases she has participated in. ...The chief justice has written 65 majority opinions in criminal cases, or 15.08% of her total cases.
  • On the civil side, the chief justice has written 11 opinions on civil procedure, 10 of them majority opinions. She has written nine opinions on constitutional law and government and administrative law; while all nine were majorities in constitutional law, only five of the nine government and administrative law opinions were majorities. The chief justice has written five tort opinions, including four majorities, and two opinions in wills, trusts and estates, both majorities. She has written two opinions each in tax and insurance law, all majority opinions. The chief justice has written two employment law opinions, one a majority and one majority opinion in election law. Finally, she has written one opinion each in domestic relations, environmental law and contract; each of these opinions was a majority.
  • Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye ranks roughly in the middle of the court in the frequency of her questioning, generally averaging slightly more questions of appellants (particularly in criminal cases) than of respondents. In 2017 civil cases, the chief justice averaged 3.63 questions in appellants' opening argument, 3.93 of respondents, and 0.71 during rebuttal. On the criminal side, she averaged 4.02 questions in appellants' opening, 2.66 of respondents and 0.29 in rebuttal. In 2018 civil cases, the chief justice averaged 4.17 questions during appellants' opening, 4.9 of respondents and 0.8 in rebuttals. On the criminal side, she averaged 2.62 in appellants' opening, 2.26 of respondents and 0.3 in rebuttals. So far in civil cases decided this year, the chief justice has averaged 3.33 questions in appellants' opening, 3.14 of respondents and 1 during rebuttal. In criminal cases, she has averaged 3.42 questions in opening, 2.27 of respondents and 0.58 in rebuttal.
  • The data demonstrates the scope of Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye's influence on the Supreme Court. She nearly always votes with the majority, both in civil and criminal cases. The agreement rate data places her squarely in the middle of the court's ideological consensus: moderate occasionally tending liberal in civil cases, somewhat more conservative in criminal cases. Notwithstanding her heavy administrative responsibilities, the chief justice writes a proportional share of the court's majority opinions, and in the very rare criminal case where the chief justice is in the minority, the court is likely to be sharply split.
Speaking of 'by the numbers,' see By the numbers: Lawyer Salary Increases in the Past Two Decades. Data compiled by the American Bar Association shows that average lawyer pay has nearly doubled since 1997. 

And in the CJP saga, today's DJ has Investigation of Justice Johnson began with a petition to the court.