I’ve been thinking about yesterday’s post about unanimous 9-0 opinions. I think it would be interesting to see which Justices have been assigned the most 9-0 opinions either with or without concurring opinions. These numbers also include 8-0 and 7-0 decisions.

Justice OT08 OT07 OT06 Total
Roberts 1 5 3 9
Stevens 1 2 3
Scalia 2 3 5
Kennedy 1 2 3
Souter 3 3 5 11
Thomas 1 4 4 9
Ginsburg 1 2 2 5
Breyer 3 2 3 8
Alito 3 4 3 10
Total 12 24 27 63

Bear in mind, as a general rule, each Justice authors 7-8 majority opinions every term, or one for every sitting October-April. With that in mind, its pretty surprising to see a Justice write 5 out of 7 majority opinions for a term in 9-0 decisions. The obvious flip-side to this information would be the number of 5-4 majority opinions authored by each Justice in a given year. These numbers are going to be skewed based on the sheer number of 5-4 opinions that went in the conservative direction.

Justice OT08 OT07 OT06 Total
Roberts 1 2 3
Stevens 1 1 4 6
Scalia 2 2
Kennedy 3 6 9
Souter 0
Thomas 1 3 4
Ginsburg 1 1
Breyer 2 1 3
Alito 4 4
Total 3 9 21 33

Justice Stevens authored a lot of 5-4 liberal opinions while Justice Kennedy authored more 5-4 opinions over this period than anyone else. I expected to see that Justices Souter and Ginsburg hadn’t issued many but I was surprised to see that Justice Scalia has only issued two.


1 Response to “Which Justices Write The Most 9-0 Opinions? 5-4 Opinions?”

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