SJC 2008 stats


The January 29 edition of the Maine Lawyers Review includes its tabulation of number of SJC decisions, concurrences, dissents, etc. for 2008.  Nothing wildly extraordinary emerges.

The SJC did issue 39 more decisions in 2008 than 2007 (defining decisions as the numbered opinions).  Apparently this happened mostly in a clump in the first quarter of 2008.  Either each Justice's New Year's Resolution was to crank it up and they were inspired early on, or someone slipped them some extra caffeine in their java and the jolt tapered over the rest of the year.  August and November were the low number of decision months, presumably because the clerks turn over in August and the tour of Maine arguments in October slows down the production of opinions in the next month (which presumably is the reason why no arguments are held in December, to play catch up).  T

The stats show the usual or fairly predictable.  The number of separate opinions is still fairly small (only 26 of 195 decisions have concurrences or dissents).  Given this small number, the spread between who dissented the most/least is pretty insignificant.  The total difference between the top dissenter and bottom is 6:  Justice Alexander and Chief Justice Saufley were in the dissent the most (8 times), followed closely by Justice Silver (7); newbie Justice Gorman dissented the least (twice), followed by Justice Clifford (3).  Chief Justice Saufley drafted only 2 of the dissents she joined in, while Justice Alexander wrote 7, presumably because more Justices joined in the CJ's dissents.  Of Justice Alexander's dissents, 3 were alone, 2 with one other Justice and 2 with more than one.  The CJ was never alone.  Justice Silver's tally echoes Justice Alexander's:  of his 7 dissents, he wrote 5 of the dissenting opinions – he was alone three times, with another Justice three times, and with more than one justice once.  Like the CJ, Justices Clifford, Levy, Mead and Gorman were never alone in a dissent.