Last week, we began our study of the Court’s voting dynamics. We analyzed agreement rates between all combinations of the Justices in non-unanimous civil and criminal cases between 2000 and 2004. This week, we’ll turn our attention to the second five years of the period, 2005 to 2009. We’ll begin with the Court’s civil cases. (A note for newer readers of our blog – unlike many states, the Chief Justice of Illinois is chosen for a three-year term by the members of the Court from among the serving Justices. Since we write about sixteen years of the Court’s history, we try to refer to Justices as “Chief Justice” when writing about their tenure in that position, and as “Justice” during all other periods.)

For 2005, her last full year on the Court, Chief Justice McMorrow voted quite similarly to Justices Fitzgerald (88.9%), Garman (87.5%) and Chief Justice Thomas (85.7%). She voted with Justice Karmeier in 80% of non-unanimous civil cases. Chief Justice McMorrow’s agreement rate with Justice Freeman was 55.6%, and her agreement rate with Justice Kilbride was 44.4%. For 2006, Justice Freeman was the closest match to Justice McMorrow’s voting at 84.62%. She agreed with Justice Karmeier and Justice Fitzgerald in 69.23% of cases, with Justice Kilbride and Chief Justice Thomas half the time, and with Justice Garman in 45.45% of cases. Justice Burke participated in only two non-unanimous civil decisions during 2006, voting with Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Fitzgerald, Kilbride and Karmeier in both, and with Justices Garman and Freeman in one. For 2007, Justice Burke’s voting was most similar to Justices Freeman and Fitzgerald (85.7% each) and Chief Justice Thomas (83.3%). She voted with Justice Kilbride 71.4% of the time, and with Justice Garman in 57.1% of non-unanimous civil cases. For 2008 and 2009, Justice Burke’s closest match on the civil side was Justice Freeman – 100% agreement rate in both years. For 2008, she agreed with Chief Justice Fitzgerald in half of non-unanimous civil cases, with Justice Kilbride and Chief Justice Thomas in 44.44% of cases, and with Justice Garman 40% of the time. For 2009, Justice Burke agreed with Chief Justice Fitzgerald in 85.7% of cases, with Justice Thomas 80% of the time, with Justice Garman 71.4% of the time, with Justice Kilbride in 57.1% of non-unanimous civil cases, and with Justice Karmeier only 28.6% of the time.

The data for Justice Garman is reported in Tables 402 and 403. Justice Garman agreed with Justice Freeman in three quarters of non-unanimous civil cases, and with Justice Kilbride half the time. Justice Garman’s agreement rate with Justice Kilbride remained low: 64.71% in 2006, 50% in 2007, only 18.18% in 2008 and 37.5% in 2009. Justice Garman voted with Justice Freeman in 55.56% of non-unanimous civil cases in 2006, 75% of the time in 2007, and half the time in 2008, but in 85.7% of cases in 2009.

Click here to view table. 

In 2005, Justice Garman agreed in 100% of non-unanimous civil cases with Chief Justice Thomas and Justices Fitzgerald and Karmeier. The agreement rates between those three Justices fell in the four years that followed. For 2006, she voted with Justice Fitzgerald in 77.78% of cases, with Chief Justice Thomas 73.33% of the time, and with Justice Karmeier in two-thirds of cases. For 2007, she agreed with Justice Fitzgerald three-quarters of the time, with Chief Justice Thomas 57.1% of the time, and with Justice Karmeier only 42.9% of the time. In 2008, Justice Garman voted with Chief Justice Thomas in every non-unanimous civil case. Justice Garman voted with Justice Karmeier in 90.91% of cases, and with Chief Justice Fitzgerald half the time. For 2009, Justice Garman’s agreement rates with those three Justices were almost identical: Justice Thomas 66.7%, Justice Karmeier and Chief Justice Fitzgerald, 62.5%.

During these years, Justice Freeman’s closest matches in civil cases were probably Justices Thomas and Fitzgerald. In 2005, Justice Freeman voted with Chief Justice Thomas 71.4% of the time, and with Justice Fitzgerald 66.67% of the time. For 2006, he voted with Justice Fitzgerald 80% of the time, and his agreement rate with Chief Justice Thomas was 64.71%. For 2007, Justice Freeman’s agreement rate with Justice Fitzgerald was 100%, and with Chief Justice Thomas, 85.7%. Both agreement rates fell sharply in 2008 – Chief Justice Fitzgerald 50%, Chief Justice Thomas 54.55%, but they were back up the following year. For 2009, Justice Freeman and Chief Justice Fitzgerald voted together in 85.7% of civil cases, and Justices Freeman and Thomas voted together 80% of the time. Justice Freeman’s agreement rates were for the most part significantly less than these two Justices. He agreed with Justice Karmeier in 80% of cases in 2005, 60% in 2006, 42.9% in 2007, 41.67% in 2008 and 42.9% in 2009. He voted with Justice Kilbride 44.4% of the time in 2005, 63.16% in 2006, 75% in 2007, 36.36% in 2008 and 57.1% of the time in 2009.

In 2005, Justice Kilbride’s agreement rate with Chief Justice Thomas was 57.1%, 55.6% with Justice Fitzgerald, and 40% with Justice Karmeier. For 2006, he voted with Chief Justice Thomas 81.25% of the time, and with Justice Fitzgerald 80% of the time, but with Justice Karmeier only 52.63% of the time. For 2007, his agreement rate with Justice Fitzgerald remained fairly high – 75% – but he voted with Chief Justice Thomas and Justice Karmeier only 57.1% of the time. The following year, all three agreement rates fell. Justice Kilbride agreed with Chief Justice Fitzgerald 63.64% of the time, with Justice Karmeier 27.27% of the time, and with Chief Justice Thomas 20% of the time. All three agreement rates were up in 2009, however. For 2009, Justice Kilbride voted with Justice Thomas in 83.3% of non-unanimous civil cases, with Chief Justice Fitzgerald 75% of the time, and with Justice Karmeier three-quarters of the time. Chief Justice Thomas’ agreement rates with Justices Karmeier and Fitzgerald in 2005 were 100%. In 2006, his agreement rate with Justice Fitzgerald was 76.47%, and with Justice Karmeier, 64.71%. In 2007, his agreement rate with Justice Fitzgerald was 85.7%, and with Justice Karmeier 50%. For 2008, Chief Justice Thomas’ agreement rate with Justice Karmeier was 90.91%, and with Chief Justice Fitzgerald, 54.55%. For 2009, Justice Thomas and Chief Justice Fitzgerald agreed in 100% of non-unanimous civil cases, and Justices Thomas and Karmeier agreed half the time. Finally, Justice Karmeier agreed with Justice Fitzgerald in 100% of non-unanimous civil cases in 2005, but in only 70% in 2006. For the three years following, their agreement rate hovered around half – 42.9% in 2007, 53.85% in 2008 and half in 2009.

Click here to view table. 

Join us back here tomorrow as we review agreement rates for the criminal docket between 2005 and 2009.