Thursday, January 23, 2020

Justice Kruger by the numbers

Today's DJ has Kirk Jenkins' Justice Leondra R. Kruger by the numbers, the sixth in his series of data-driven profiles of CSC Justices:
  • Justice Kruger was appointed to the seat of retiring Justice Joyce L. Kennard by former Gov. Jerry Brown in November 2014. She was sworn in on Jan. 5, 2015, the same day as Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar. From 2007 to 2013, Justice Kruger was an assistant to the United States solicitor general. She served as acting principal deputy solicitor general from 2010 to 2011. During her tenure in the solicitor general's office, she argued 12 cases at the Supreme Court. Justice Kruger left the solicitor general's office in 2013 to become deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel.
  • As of the end of 2019, Justice Kruger had voted in 391 cases -- 171 civil and 220 criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile, disciplinary and mental health. She has written 21 majority opinions in civil cases.... Justice Kruger's busiest years were 2016 (seven majority opinions), 2017 (six majorities) and 2019 (four majorities). ... Justice Kruger has written 28 majority opinions in criminal cases...
  • Justice Kruger has written opinions in a dozen areas of civil law. She has written eight opinions on civil procedure issues (five of them majority opinions) and she has written four opinions each in employment law (two majorities), constitutional law (two majorities) and tort (three majorities). She has written three opinions regarding government and administrative law, all three majorities, and three tax opinions, one a majority. Justice Kruger has written two opinions on environmental law (one of them a majority) two on arbitration (again, one a majority) and one majority opinion each on property law, legal ethics and workers compensation.
  • Justice Kruger seldom dissents. She has filed seven dissents in civil cases: four in 2016, three in 2017. This comes to only 4.09% of her civil caseload. She has filed five dissents in criminal cases: two in 2017 and 2019, one in 2018 -- only 2.27% of her criminal cases.
  • During Justice Kruger's first five years' service, the Supreme Court has decided 80.81% of its civil cases and 78.64% of its criminal cases unanimously.
  • During her first two years on the court, Justice Kruger's closest voting match on the civil side was Justice Goodwin Liu, with whom she agreed in 75% of non-unanimous cases. Justices Kruger and Cuéllar voted together 68.75% of the time. Justice Kruger had an agreement rate of 62.5% with three Republican appointees, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Carol Corrigan and Kathryn Werdegar. Justice Kruger's lowest civil agreement rate was with Justice Chin -- 43.75%.
  • Our data suggest that Justice Kruger may be near the ideological center of the Court, at least in the past three years: moderately liberal in civil cases, moderately conservative (more so than her fellow Democratic appointees) in criminal cases. 
Also of note: 4/2's Justice Richard Fields had an article (with USC's Prof. Barry Kaye) in the DJ's special The Resolution Issue insert, titled The Enforceability of Class Waivers in Arbitration Agreements.

And if you're just looking for a good opinion to read, check out this one here, where a pro per plaintiff wins a reversal because the trial court abused its discretion in dismissing his case "for failing to appear at trial several days after he had been released from the hospital":
The trial court’s view of how much time, effort, and expense go into trying a case was unrealistic. Participating in a trial, as most trial lawyers can confirm, is exhausting and physically demanding. ... If an attorney had requested a short trial continuance because he or she was in the hospital in the days leading up to a trial, any reasonable judicial officer would have granted that attorney a continuance.
For a nice discussion of the substantial evidence standard (and a citation to last year's smash hit Briganti v. Chow) see here (noting "Our colleagues in Division Four recently underlined how important it is for every judge to combat gender bias in the justice system. [Cite to Briganti.] We agree."

In the "clear instructions please" folder, Law360 has Judge Confused by 11th Circ.'s Mandate in Biofuel Bankruptcy. The district judge the judge "said he wished the appeals court’s most recent one-paragraph order had come with instructions. “They’re not really giving me any direction,” Judge Gayles said. “It’d be nice to have an opinion. Neither opinion from the Eleventh Circuit is a model of clarity in this case.”"

Finally, file this one under "follow our instructions!": 'What Happened Next Beggars Belief' 7th Circuit Scolds Feds for Defying Order in Visa Case
“We have never before encountered defiance of a remand order, and we hope never to see it again,” Easterbrook wrote. “Members of the board must count themselves lucky that Baez-Sanchez has not asked us to hold them in contempt, with all the consequences that possibility entails. The Board seemed to think that we had issued an advisory opinion, and that faced with a conflict between our views and those of the Attorney General it should follow the latter.”