Last week, we began our analysis of a new issue, tracking the California Supreme Court’s considerable experience with amicus curiae briefs in both civil and criminal cases. Last week, we covered the years 2000 through 2007. Today, we turn our attention to civil cases from 2008 to 2015.

In Table 122, we report the total number of briefs the Court accepted in civil cases, year by year and divided between non-unanimous and unanimous decisions. For 2008, the Court accepted 69 briefs in cases decided non-unanimously, and 124 briefs in unanimous cases. For 2009, the numbers were nearly equal – 98 briefs in non-unanimous cases, 100 in unanimous cases. The following year, the two sides diverged again – the Court accepted 28 amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases and 124 in unanimous cases. In 2011, the Court accepted 46 extra briefs in non-unanimous cases and 80 in unanimous cases.

In 2012, the Court accepted 42 amicus briefs in non-unanimous civil cases, and 88 in unanimous ones. For 2013, the Court accepted 31 amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases and 100 in unanimous cases. For 2014, the numbers were once again relatively close, as the Court accepted 55 amicus briefs in non-unanimous decisions and 64 in unanimous cases. Last year, the Court accepted 29 amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases and 94 in unanimous ones.

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We report the per-case averages for this data in Table 123. Note that in most recent years, the Court has averaged more amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases than in unanimous ones – likely because controversial and complex issues tend to attract both amicus briefs and dissent. For 2008, the Court averaged 7.67 amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases and 4.13 in unanimous ones. These averages are influenced by two outliers – In re Marriage Cases, in which the Court accepted 46 amicus briefs, and City of Hope National Medical Center v. Genentech, Inc., in which the Court accepted 18.

The data was equally impacted in 2009 by an outlier case – Strauss v. Horton, in which the Court accepted 62 amicus briefs. For the year, the Court averaged 14 amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases and 2.71 in unanimous ones. In 2010, the Court averaged 3.11 amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases and 3.88 in unanimous ones. The next year, the Court accepted 5.75 briefs in non-unanimous cases and 3.2 in unanimous decisions. For 2012, the Court averaged six amicus briefs in non-unanimous decisions, and 4.63 in unanimous decisions. For 2013, the Court accepted 3.88 amicus briefs in non-unanimous decisions and 4.17 in unanimous cases. For 2014, the Court averaged 7.86 amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases and 4 in unanimous decisions. Last year, amicus briefs were nearly as high, averaging 7.25 in non-unanimous cases and 3.36 in unanimous cases.

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Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Court’s experience with amicus briefs in criminal cases during these same years.