The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 2018-19 term began with arguments last month, and the first opinion of the term is expected tomorrow. Before we dive into this year’s term, we thought we would review the statistics of the 2017-18 term and highlight a couple of the court’s important decisions from the term, which saw the conclusion of Justice Michael Gableman’sservice and the election of his successor, Justice Rebecca Dallet.
In 2017-18, the court issued 60 merits decisions in 36 civil cases and 24 criminal cases. The justices reached a unanimous decision in 18 of these cases or 29.5% of the time, while two or more justices dissented in 37 cases or 60.7% of the time. The court also issued three per curiam decisions affirming the judgment of the court of appeals in cases in which the justices were equally divided on the merits.
The number of writings for the term totaled 135, comprising 59 majority opinions, 50 dissenting opinions, 25 concurring opinions, and a per curiam order in an original action. All but eight of the cases that the court decided generated at least two separate opinions. Justice Shirley Abrahamson authored or joined the most dissenting opinions with 29 total, while Justices Rebecca Grassl Bradley and Daniel Kelly authored or joined the most concurring opinions with 12 each. Justice Grassl Bradley authored the most opinions overall with 27. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley was second with 26. Justice Gableman authored the fewest with 11.
The court issued its decisions with remarkable speed compared to past years, with 37 decisions released before June, 18 released during June, and 5 released in July. We will discuss the timing of opinions in greater detail in our next post.