Yesterday, we began a multi-day crossover post comparing the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ civil (and later in the week, criminal) dockets, how they compare to each other and how they evolved over time. Today, we’re comparing the Courts’ dockets from 2004 to 2017.
We showed last time that the Illinois Supreme Court decided 139 more cases from 1990 to 1996 than the California Supreme Court did. By the 2004 to 2010 period, that distribution had flipped – for those seven years, the Illinois Supreme Court decided 308 cases, while the California Supreme Court decided 334.
For these years, the Illinois Supreme Court’s leading area of law was tort (69 cases), followed by constitutional law (36), government and administrative law (35), civil procedure (33) and insurance law (25).
In Table 883, we report the yearly case totals for the same period at the California Supreme Court. During these years, the Court’s leading civil area of law was civil procedure (50 cases), followed by government and administrative law (46), tort law (44), employment law (41) and constitutional law (35).
In Table 884, we compare the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil docket as a percentage of the total for both 2004-2010 and 1997-2003. Tort law was slightly down from the previous seven years – 25.99% of the docket for 1997-2003 and 22.4% for 2004-2010. Constitutional law was down a bit as well, from 12.43% of the docket for 1997-2003 to 11.69% from 2004-2010. Government and administrative law was down a bit, from 12.71% in 1997-2003 to 11.36% for 2004-2010. Civil procedure was down fairly substantially, from 15.25% of the civil docket for 1997-2003 to only 10.71% in 2004-2010. Insurance law was up slightly, from 7.63% to 8.12%. Although the top five areas of law at the Court remained the same, several of the more minor players on the Court’s docket were up fairly sharply: domestic relations from 4.52% to 7.47%, tax law from 3.4% to 5.19%, wills and estates from 1.13% to 2.27%, election law from 1.41% to 3.25%, employment law from 1.98% to 2.92%, and commercial law from 0.85% to 2.92% of the docket.
For the same years in California, civil procedure was down a bit, from 16.27% of the civil docket to 14.97%. Government and administrative law was up slightly, however, from 11.4% to 13.77%. Tort law’s share of the docket fell sharply, from 22.22% in 1997-2003 to 13.17% in 2004-2010. Employment law was way up too, from 7.89% in 1997-2003 to 12.28% in 2004-2010. Constitutional law’s share of the docket, on the other hand, was down, from 13.16% to 10.48%.
Among the lesser players on the civil docket, arbitration was up, from 2.34% in 1997-2003 to 5.39% for 2004-2010. Environmental law was way up, from only 0.58% to 4.79%. Property law was up as well, from 0.88% to 1.5%. On the other hand, workers compensation’s share of the civil docket was way down, from 4.39% to 1.5%.
Now we turn our attention to the most recent seven-year period – 2011 to 2017. During these years, the Illinois Supreme Court once again pulled slightly ahead of the California Supreme Court in civil case output, 232 to 223. The top five areas of law on the Illinois Supreme Court’s docket were government and administrative law (53 cases), tort law (51), civil procedure (33), constitutional law (25) and domestic relations (20).
For the past seven years in California, the top areas of law on the civil docket have been government and administrative law (47 cases), civil procedure (40), tort law (28), employment law (20) and constitutional law (18).
For these years, government and administrative law doubled its share of the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil docket, from 11.36% of the docket in 2004-2010 to 22.84% for 2011-2017. Tort law was down slightly, from 22.4% to 21.98%. Civil procedure was up from 10.71% to 14.22%. Constitutional law was fairly flat – 11.69% in 2004-2010 to 10.78% in 2011-2017. Domestic relations was up a bit too, from 7.47% to 8.62%. Among the minor players on the docket, contract law was down (1.95% to 0.43%), property law was up (1.3% to 3.02%), workers compensation was down (4.87% to 2.59%) and insurance law was way down (8.12% to only 3.02%).
For 2011-2017, government and administrative law has increased from 13.77% of the civil docket to 21.08%. Civil procedure was up slightly (14.97% to 17.94%). Tort law was down slightly (13.17% to 12.56%), employment law was down sharply (12.28% to 8.97%) and constitutional law was down slightly (10.48% to 8.07%). Among the less common subject, environmental law was up (4.79% in 2004-2010 to 6.28% in 2011-2017), insurance law was way down (7.19% to 2.69%), tax law was up (2.4% to 4.48%) and domestic relations was way down (2.99% to 1.35%).
Join us over at the California Supreme Court Review later today as we turn our attention to the Courts’ criminal dockets.