Our unique statistical analysis of the Supreme Court's annual activity is complete for 2011. Every year we track the opinions and votes of each justice and provide a case-by-case breakout, along with some analysis. For comparison purposes see:
In 2011, the Supreme Court of Washington issued opinions in 117 cases, down from 140 in 2010. The Court continues to enjoy a high level of agreement: 59 percent of all decisions were unanimous (including unanimous-in-result-only opinions and per curiam opinions). This is up from 54 percent in 2010.
Chief Justice Barbara Madsen was the most prolific writer this year, with 35 total opinions. Debra Stephens came in second with 27 opinions. wrote the most majority opinions (23). Susan Owens wrote the most majority opinions (17) as well as the most unanimous opinions (9). Owens and Mary Fairhurst were in the majority in 93.6 percent of all cases they participated in.
Looking at the rates of agreement between justices, the justices who agreed with each other most often were Charles Wiggins and Madsen (96.3%), Wiggins and Fairhurst (92.7%) and Wiggins and Stephens (92.7%). The justices with the lowest rates of agreement were Tom Chambers and Jim Johnson (73.1%), Chambers and Madsen (74.3), and Jim Johnson and Stephens 75.7%).
The Court had a change in 2011, with Charlie Wiggins replacing former Justice Richard Sanders. Wiggins only participated in 55 of the cases with an opinion this year; while Sanders served as a temporary justice on 52 cases. In that time Sanders wrote two majorities, one concurrence, and seven dissents.
|Justice||Majority Opinions||Concurring Opinions||Dissenting Opinions*||Total Written|
*Excludes partial dissents.
|Justice||Majority Votes*||Total Votes**||% in Majority||Unanimous Opinions***|
*Including concurring votes
**Analysis is limited to signed opinions
***Including unanimous in result
|Justice||Majority Opinions||Majority Votes||% in Majority|
|Splits||Number of Cases||% of Total|
*Unanimous in result only (concurrence or partial dissent filed)
|Vote Split||Days Pending|
*Unanimous in result only
(Note: Feel free to use any of these numbers, but please credit the Supreme Court of Washington Blog.)