Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Some Helpful Statistics on Judge Barrett’s Cases

On the eve of the start of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination hearings, here are some helpful statistics about the cases in which she has participated as an appellate judge. Statistics are taken from Westlaw:

  • Judge Barrett has participated in more than 600 cases since joining the Seventh Circuit in 2017.
  • 270 of those cases have resulted in published merits decisions (including panel decisions and decisions by the full en banc court).
  • Judge Barrett has dissented just six times in published merits decisions. And in one of those instances, Schmidt v. Foster, 891 F.3d 302 (2018), the en banc court later endorsed her view. See Schmidt v. Foster, 911 F.3d 469 (2018) (en banc). So there were really only five published decisions where she was in dissent.
  • Judge Barrett has thus been in the majority in 265 out of 270 published merits decisions in which she has participated, or 98%.
  • Judge Barrett has written 79 published majority opinions as of her nomination to the Supreme Court. Other judges dissented in just four of those cases, or 5%. Thus, 95% of her majority opinions were unanimously joined by her colleagues.
  • Judge Barrett has a high rate of agreement even with Democrat-appointed judges. She votes the same way as the court’s Democratic appointees in more than 94% of the cases where they sit together.
    • She has participated in 137 merits cases with Judge Diane Wood (a Clinton appointee and Supreme Court candidate under President Obama). Judges Barrett and Wood disagreed about the outcome in just five of those cases (3.6%). They were in agreement 96.4% of the time.
    • She has participated in 107 merits cases with Judge David Hamilton, an Obama appointee. They disagreed in just six of those cases (5.6%). They were in agreement 94.4% of the time.
    • She participated in 143 merits cases with Reagan-appointed conservative Judge Frank Easterbrook. They disagreed in six cases (4.2%). They were in agreement 95.8% of the time.
  • Judge Barrett is comfortably in the legal mainstream, and any suggestion that she is an extremist or ideologue does not withstand scrutiny.
  • In three years on the bench, Judge Barrett has never had one of her decisions reversed by the Supreme Court or en banc court.

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