This article presents a statistical snapshot of voting patterns within the Washington Supreme Court at the turn of the century and then explores how the changing makeup of the court may affect substantive areas of the law. The Washington Supreme Court is in a state of transition; following the November 2000 elections, only Justice Smith has served more than ten years on the high court. Four of the nine justices are serving their first terms. By looking at the opinions and voting records of both the remaining and departing members of the court, we can make some generalizations about the disposition of individual justices and even blocs of justices. Analysis of the same data in a particular area of law may also enable one to predict about future developments as well. The Article begins with a brief discussion on its methodology. Part III of the Article presents the statistics themselves with a brief commentary. Part IV provides an analysis of the court, focusing on voting patterns and particular types of issues that might be affected by a changing court. This is done by examining seven criminal law cases from the court during the term studied and one case from the succeeding court.

Included in

Courts Commons