Illinois Supreme Court: The Questions Log Halfway Through 2013

With the Illinois Supreme Court halfway through its oral argument schedule for 2013 – three dockets down, three to go, beginning with September in Chicago – it’s time to take another look at the questions log.

In the first three terms, the Court has heard argument in 16 civil cases. Questioning has varied widely from case to case, from lows in the January term of 8 each in DeHart v. DeHart and Russell v. SNFA to highs in the May term of 40 in Relf v. Shatayeva and 51 in Board of Education of Peoria School Dist. No. 150 v. Peoria Federation of Support Staff. Interestingly, the Court seems to be becoming more active with each passing term, averaging 14.6 questions per argument in January, 21.5 in March and 34 questions per argument in May. Nine of the sixteen cases are decided, but there’s little indication so far of a convincing correlation between how active a Justice is during the questioning and whether that Justice will wind up writing an opinion on the case. So far, in only three of the nine cases has the most active questioner written the majority opinion. In none of the remaining six decided cases has the most active Justice written a special concurrence or dissent. In the first sixteen cases of the year, five of the seven Justices have ranked as the most active questioner on the Court in at least one case.

Halfway through 2013, here’s how the question log stands.  The numbers in parentheses show how many times that Justice has been the first questioner during each phase of the arguments.

 

Burke

Garman

Freeman

Kilbride

Thomas

Karmeier

Theis

Appellant

20 (1)

23 (4)

30 (5)

11

52 (5)

25 (1)

25 (2)

Appellee

23 (2)

19 (2)

8 (1)

10 (1)

26 (5)

19 (2)

29 (1)

Rebuttal

0

2 (1)

1 (1)

1

20 (3)

10 (3)

17 (1)

Total

43 (3)

44 (7)

39 (7)

22 (1)

98 (13)

54 (6)

71 (4)

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