CAAFlog » End o' Term Stats » 2008 Term Stats

Each of the last two years, I’ve crunched some numbers at the end of the term to see if we can spot any trends.  Here’s a link to last year’s stats.  And here’s a link to the previous year’s.

In the term that ended a year ago, CAAF issued 65 opinions of the court.  In the just-completed term, CAAF posted just 46 opinions to its web site, one of which didn’t have an opinion of the court (Forney; the court split 2-1-2).  Of the remaining 45 opinions, Judge Erdmann authored 11, Judge Stucky authored 9, Judge Ryan authored 8, Judge Baker authored 7, Chief Judge Effron authored 6, and 4 were isused per curiam.  (Remember that Judges Erdmann and Stucky sat on two more cases than the other three judges.)

Seven of CAAF’s 46 opinions (15%) were 3-2.  That roughly splits the difference between the previous two years’ percentages of 3-2 opinions.  Chief Judge Effron and Judge Stucky tied as being most likely to be in the majority of a 3-2 opinion (5/7).  Judge Ryan was the least likely to be in the majority of a 3-2 opinion (3/7).  Judge Baker and Judge Erdmann were tied in the middle (4/7).  In the term that ended a year ago, Judge Erdmann was the most likely to be in the majority of a 3-2 vote, so this year’s results based on a small universe of cases shouldn’t be given too much weight.  The only consistent result in the 3-2 cases from year to year is that Judge Ryan was the least likely to be in the majority of a 3-2 vote in all three years that she’s sat on the court.

Judges Erdmann, Stucky, and Ryan tied for casting the most dissenting votes, with 6.  Chief Judge Effron was least likely to dissent, doing so only 3 times.  Judge Baker dissented 5 times. 

And now for the pairings of which judges are most to least likely to vote together:

1.  Chief Judge Effron & Judge Baker

2.  Judge Erdmann & Judge Ryan

3.  Chief Judge Effron & Judge Erdmann

4.  [TIE]  Chief Judge Effron & Judge Stucky

                   Chief Judge Effron & Judge Ryan

                   Judge Baker & Judge Stucky

7.  Judge Stucky & Judge Ryan

8.  [TIE]  Judge Baker & Judge Erdmann

                  Judge Baker & Judge Ryan

10.  Judge Erdmann & Judge Stucky 

[One caveat: for purposes of this analysis, voting together means voting for the same outcome. So if two judges each voted to affirm, but one wrote the majority opinion and the other concurred in the result, they would be counted as voting together. Similarly, if two judges dissented separately, they would be counted as voting together.]

These pairings show some year-to-year consistency; the top three pairings this year were also the top three pairings last year (though last year Chief Judge Effron & Judge Stucky tied for third while this year that pairing was down slightly to fourth place).  The pairings that occurred least often, however, shifted from year to year.  In the term that ended a year ago, the pairing of Judges Baker and Stucky was least likely to occur; this year that pairing tied for fourth place.  So the likelihood that certain judges will vote with one another seems greater than the likelihood that certain judges will vote on opposite sides of a case.

CAAF issued 46 opinions of the Court during its 2008 Term.  44 of those opinions either affirmed or reversed a CCA’s ruling (45% reversal rate among granted cases that result in an opinion of the court).  In 20 of those opinons, CAAF reversed the CCA’s ruling, while in 24, CAAF affirmed the CCA’s ruling.

Only one case from the Coast Guard Court was before CAAF this term — a certified issue case in which CAAF reversed the Coast Guard Court.  In the 11 Army cases in which CAAF affirmed or reversed ACCA, it did the latter a whopping 9 times.  (Of course, those 9 reversals are only a tiny part of ACCA’s output.)  In its 12 decisions in 12 Air Force cases, CAAF affirmed AFCCA’s ruling in 9 and reversed in 3.  Of the 20 naval cases in which CAAF either affirmed or reversed NMCCA, it affirmed in 13 and reversed in 7.