I’ve compiled all of the statistics regarding the 2006 Term Cases.
This term was marked by rulings in only 75 cases, a relatively low number in comparison to past years. here are stats from the last few years:
The Court also issued an unusually high percentage of 5-4 decisions. 21 out of 75 cases (28%) this year came down 5-4 although some individuals like SCOTUSblog consider both Limtiaco and Morse to be 5-4 decisions even though they were decided by larger majorities, 9-0 and 6-3 respectively. Here is the final statistical breakdown of the term.
Total Number of rulings offered by the court: 75
Total Number of 9-0 rulings (not including per curiam decisions): 25
Number of Per Curiam Opinions: 8
Total Number of 8-1 or 7-1 decisions: 8
Number of lone dissents penned by Justice Thomas: 3
Number of lone dissents penned by Justice Stevens: 3
Total Number of 5-4 decisions: 21
Total Number of 5-4 decisions in which Justice Kennedy voted in the majority: 21
Total Number of 5-4 decisions ruled along traditional partisan lines: 18
Total Number of 5-4 decisions won by the conservative block: 12
Total Number of 5-4 decisions won by the liberal block: 6
Apparently it takes an average of 92.65 days for the Supreme Court to publish an opinion. I compiled my data on the average time necessary for an opinion to be published into a single file that you can find here. Its a pretty sloppy looking excel spreadsheet but it really functions as an addendum to the term index that was retired from the front page just minutes ago. You can still find it here, but I’ve taken it off of the front page.
The case that took the longest was the school cases which took 206 days. The shortest was Office of Senator Mark Dayton v. Hanson at 27 days.
Through of all the conservative victories, Carhart, Hein, Ledbetter, and Seattle School District, Chief Justice Roberts has remained unusually quiet. He authored only 10 pieces of writing last year, a low for justices. Check out the data below (total, majority, concurring, dissent):
|Stevens||29, 7, 8, 14|
|Scalia||23, 8, 7, 8|
|Thomas||23, 7, 8, 8|
|Breyer||19, 8, 5, 6|
|Souter||17, 7, 5, 5|
|Kennedy||14, 8, 5, 1|
|Ginsburg||14, 7, 3, 4|
|Alito||12, 6, 2, 4|
|Roberts||10, 7, 0, 3|
Keeping in mind that my methodology was highly unscientific (I got them from my index), I think the results are rather interesting. The average number of opinions is 18 (17.88), meaning Justice Souter is right in the middle. I am surprised by how quiet Justice Ginsburg has been. Even though she wrote the most riveting dissents that came down this year in Carhart and Ledbetter, she also wrote a below average number of opinions. It is not surprising that two of the court’s oldest members (Stevens and Scalia) have also been the two most prolific writers on the court. Conversely, it is normal to see newer members (Alito, Roberts) write fewer cases than their more distinguished brethren.