We all know that in 95% of the cases, the court is split down the middle 5-4 or 4-5.One comment on an op-ed is hardly a big deal, but I get the impression that this is a common misconception. Or in his or her words "we all know" it.
Just one problem: It's wrong. Really wrong. SCOTUSblog provides us with a great stat-pack on Supreme Court decisions. As page 4 indicates the breakdown for OT09 (aka "this year") is as follows:
- 9-0 - 47%
- 8-1 - 9%
- 7-2 - 15%
- 6-3 - 10%
- 5-4 - 19%
Meanwhile, nearly half of the decisions were unanimous! In fact, looking back at all of the years on that page (OT06, 07, and 08) - there were more unanimous decisions than 5-4 splits every year! Sure, there are big issues that we can accurately predict will come down 5-4, but the truth of the matter is that those cases are in the minority.
Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.