Refining Reversal Rates: Average Votes to Affirm the Appellate Court in Civil Cases, 2010-2015

For the past several weeks, we’ve been refining the most frequently seen measure of how an intermediate appellate court has fared before the Supreme Court – the simple reversal rate – by tracking the average votes to affirm, District by District, divided by non-unanimous and unanimous decisions of the Supreme Court. Today, we turn to the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil docket between 2010 and 2015.

Division Five of the First District has led in the past six years among non-unanimous decisions, averaging 4.25 votes to affirm. Division Three was next at 3.8 votes, followed by the Fourth District at 3.64 votes. The Second District has averaged 3.33 votes to affirm. Division Four of the First District has averaged 2.86 votes to affirm in civil cases, followed by Division Six at 2.6. Three courts – Division One of the First District, the Fourth District, and direct appeals from the Circuit Court (typically constitutional law cases) all averaged 2.5 votes to affirm in non-unanimous cases. Division Two of the First District has averaged only 2.2 votes to affirm. The Third District averaged 1.5 votes to affirm in non-unanimous cases.

The Fourth District performed well in cases decided unanimously by the Supreme Court, averaging 4.22 votes to affirm. Division Four was right behind at 4.18 votes. Direct appeals averaged 3.5 votes to affirm in unanimous cases, and Division One of the First District averaged 3. The Third District averaged 2.83 votes to affirm, and the Second District averaged 2.81. Two Divisions of the First District were next – the Fifth averaged 2.63 votes, and the Division Three averaged 2.5. Division Two of the First District averaged 1.82 votes to affirm, followed by Division Six at 1.75. The Fifth District ranked last, averaging 0.78 votes to affirm. The only case heard by the Court from the Workers Compensation Commission Division of the First District was unanimously affirmed, and the 2010 case from the WCC Division of the Third District was unanimously reversed.

Join us back here tomorrow as we determine which Districts and Divisions have had the largest portion of their civil cases unanimously reversed during the past six years.

Image courtesy of Flickr by LooneyTuneTed (no changes).