The 2020-21 Fantasy League Season Preview

Nearly all the attention at this year’s winter meeting of the Competition Committee focused on strengthening the lineups of the three teams at the bottom of last season’s standings—the Citations, Affirmed, and Writs.  To this end, six law firms that did not appear before the Supreme Court over the last two terms have been relegated to the developmental league and replaced by firms whose recent activity bodes well for the teams that selected them.  The most coveted acquisition of last year’s off-season, Husch Blackwell, exceeded all expectations on the way to amassing 25 points for the Waivers during the 2019-20 campaign.  If any of the six new firms delivers something approaching this dazzling total, its team might dare to imagine challenging the league’s perennial champion, the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s office.

As in the past, scoring summaries will be posted here weekly, beginning in mid-January.  Meanwhile, fans can click on the appropriate link to view team rosters updated with the new law firms signed this offseason. 

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1963-64

These tables are derived from information contained in 293 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1963, and August 31, 1964.  The total of 293 decisions does not include rulings arising from (1) disciplinary matters involving lawyers, and (2) various petitions, motions, applications and the like (generally disposed of without oral argument and in short per curiam decisions).[1]

The decision filed on October 29, 1963 in State v. Hoyt (21 Wis. 2d 310) was withdrawn and replaced by a decision filed on June 5, 1964 (21 Wis. 2d 284).  Only the latter decision is included in these tables.

If identical decisions were listed twice under two different case numbers (e.g., Peterson v. Sinclair Refining Co.) or under the same case number (e.g., Racine v. Povkovich), I counted them only once. 

State ex rel. Reynolds v. Zimmerman (23 Wis. 2d 606), a per curiam ruling on legislative apportionment, is omitted.

Eight justices appear in several of the following tables, because Justice Beilfuss replaced Justice Brown on January 6, 1964.

The tables are available as a complete set and by individual topic in the subsets listed below.

Four-to-Three Decisions
Decisions Arranged by Vote Split
Frequency of Justices in the Majority
Distribution of Opinion Authorship
Frequency of Agreement Between Pairs of Justices
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice

[1] Drake v. Farmers Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (22 Wis. 2d 66A), which yielded a per curiam decision on a motion for rehearing (with no oral argument), is among the omitted decisions.  It is somewhat unusual in that three justices dissented.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1964-65

These tables are derived from information contained in 256 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1964, and August 31, 1965.  The total of 256 decisions does not include rulings arising from (1) disciplinary matters involving lawyers, and (2) various petitions, motions, applications and the like (generally disposed of without oral argument and in short per curiam decisions).  Nor does it include Coffee-Rich, Inc. v. McDowell and Graebner v. Wisconsin Industrial Com., both of which were one-paragraph, 3-3 per curiam decisions. 

The tables are available as a complete set and by individual topic in the subsets listed below.

Four-to-Three Decisions
Decisions Arranged by Vote Split
Frequency of Justices in the Majority
Distribution of Opinion Authorship
Frequency of Agreement Between Pairs of Justices
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1965-66

These tables are derived from information contained in 275 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1965, and August 31, 1966.  The total of 275 decisions does not include rulings arising from (1) disciplinary matters involving lawyers, and (2) various petitions, motions, applications and the like (generally disposed of without oral argument and in short per curiam decisions).  Nor does it include Foregger v. Foregger, a one-paragraph, 3-3 per curiam decision. 

The tables are available as a complete set and by individual topic in the subsets listed below.

Four-to-Three Decisions
Decisions Arranged by Vote Split
Frequency of Justices in the Majority
Distribution of Opinion Authorship
Frequency of Agreement Between Pairs of Justices
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 1966-67

These tables are derived from information contained in 278 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions that were turned up in a Nexis Uni search for decisions filed between September 1, 1966, and August 31, 1967.  The total of 278 decisions does not include rulings arising from (1) disciplinary matters involving lawyers, and (2) various petitions, motions, applications and the like (generally disposed of without oral argument and in short per curiam decisions). 

Eight justices appear in several of the following tables, because Justice Connor Hansen replaced Justice Myron Gordon in mid-March of 1967.

The tables are available as a complete set and by individual topic in the subsets listed below.

Four-to-Three Decisions
Decisions Arranged by Vote Split
Frequency of Justices in the Majority
Distribution of Opinion Authorship
Frequency of Agreement Between Pairs of Justices
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice

The Eternal Gavels

Each year, after the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office have won another Fantasy League title, the Competition Committee approves measures to strengthen the other teams.  Thus, for the 2019-20 season, the four challengers were allowed to add another law firm to their rosters, thereby creating the most formidable set of challengers ever faced by the defending champion.  Or so it seemed—until the Gavels torched all their opponents before the arrival of spring and cruised to their fifth consecutive title.  In their most dominant performance yet, they led from wire to wire and won by the largest margin in the league’s history. [Continue Reading…]

The 2019-20 Term: Some More Impressions

Armed with findings from the supreme court’s just-completed term, we can compare the justices’ activity in several areas with their corresponding performances during previous terms.  Last year, all these measures of the court’s work extended recent trends—but not one of them did so in 2019-20.[Continue Reading…]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 2019-20

These tables are derived from information contained in 45 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions filed between September 1, 2019, and the end of the court’s term in the summer of 2020.  The total of 45 decisions omits orders pertaining to various motions, petitions, and disciplinary matters, but it does include Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1 v. Robin Vos and Nancy Bartlett v. Tony Evers.  Given that these two decisions contain some odd features (to be discussed in a subsequent post), they will figure in only some of the following tables (as indicated by footnotes).

Waukesha County v. J.J.H. and State v. Kelly James Kloss were dismissed as improvidently granted and are not considered here.

The tables are available as a complete set and by individual topic according to the subsets listed below.

Four-to-Three Decisions
Decisions Arranged by Vote Split
Frequency of Justices in the Majority
Distribution of Opinion Authorship
Frequency of Agreement Between Pairs of Justices
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice
Number of Oral Arguments Presented by Individual Firms and Agencies

 

 

The Supreme Court’s 2019-20 Term: Some Initial Impressions

Now that the supreme court has filed its last substantive decision of the 2019-20 term, we can begin our customary series of posts on various aspects of the justices’ work over the past 12 months.  Along the way, we’ll encounter some surprises.

Number of decisions filed
These summaries normally start by comparing the term’s volume of decisions with the totals filed during other terms, both recent and remote.  This year the change was dramatic.  From 58 decisions in 2018-19 (and 62 in 2017-18), the total plunged to 45 in 2019-20.  This approached the modern-day low of 43, as shown in Graph 1.[Continue Reading…]

Law Firm Fantasy League

This week’s harvest of decisions was unusually bountiful—especially for the Writs and the Waivers—and, as a result, the standings have tightened considerably.  The long-dormant Writs led the scoring, with 16 points from Pines Bach (for a brief, oral argument, and favorable outcome in Kathleen Papa v. DHS and a brief, oral argument, and partially-favorable outcome in Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1 v. Robin Vos) and 10 points from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (for a brief, oral argument, and mostly-favorable outcome in Nancy Bartlett v. Tony Evers and an amicus brief in Service Employees).

Meanwhile, three different firms on the Waivers contributed points: Husch Blackwell (7 points for a brief and mostly-favorable outcome in Service Employees), Hawks Quindel (4 points for a brief and partially-favorable outcome in Service Employees), and Quarles & Brady (1 point for an amicus brief in Kathleen Papa). 

Godfrey & Kahn rounded out the scoring with 5 points (for a brief and oral argument in WSBU v. Joel Brennan), thereby moving the Citations up in the standings.