• Information graphics
  • April 2017

Supreme Court Statistics

An experimental method of visualizing the various statistics of decisions during the 2016 term of the United States Supreme Court, using a format similar to a baseball box score. Individual cases are listed on the left, sorted by case number, dates argued and dates decided. The individual makeup of each decision is displayed at center right, with color-coded majority opinions, concurrences and dissents by each justice. Finally, the majorities and minorities are listed for each decision at far right.

The takeaways from visualizing this type of data were interesting. Most Supreme Court cases during this term tend to be rather uneventful unanimous or near-unanimous decisions, contrary to what are usually tossed around in public discourse. Majority opinions seemed to be assigned fairly equally amongst the justices, with the more senior justices writing slightly more. It is also worth pointing out that this particular term (2016) notably had eight justices, rather than nine, due to the vacancy caused by the death of Justice Scalia and the Senate’s refusal to hold hearings for his replacement.

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